By Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Baghdad on March 11 amid his government’s efforts to expand ties with Iraq to reduce the impact of US sanction on Iran’s economy.

Prior to departing Tehran, Rouhani remarked, “[Iran’s ties with Iraq] cannot be compared to Iraq’s relations with an occupying country like America, which is hated in the region.” The visit is Rouhani’s first one to Baghdad since taking office in 2013.

The Iranian leader’s three days in Iraq will include his signing a series of agreements on energy, transport, agriculture, industry and health as well as meetings with Iraqi officials. In preparation, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in Baghdad the day before Rouhani.

Iran aims to boost annual trade with its neighbor from $12 billion to $20 billion to help offset US sanctions, which are strangling its economy.

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The Secretary of Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce said the obstacles to banking interaction between the two neighbors have been settled and the bilateral trade exchange is fairly normal.

In comments at a televised program on Sunday night, Hamid Hosseini said the problems with banking relations between Iran and Iraq have been resolved and the process of exports to Iraq as well as trade exchange with the Arab country has become stable and much better than before.

Iranian exporters’ concerns about trade with Iraq under a currency agreement have been addressed, the official noted, expressing hope that the process of steady trade exchange with Iraq would continue in the coming Iranian year.

Hosseini pointed to a 32-strong delegation of Iranian private sector’s business people accompanying President Hassan Rouhani in an ongoing trip to Iraq, saying the presidential visit will produce perfect results for the private sector.

A large number of technical and engineering projects worth 7 to 8 billion dollars which Iranian private sector companies were carrying out in Iraq have remained unfinished since the rise of the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group in 2014, the official said, hoping that Rouhani’s trip would help address the issue.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Rouhani left Iran for Iraq at the official invitation of Baghdad.

It is Rouhani’s first official visit to Iraq during his tenure.

In February, governors of the central banks of Iran and Iraq signed an agreement to develop a payment mechanism aimed at facilitating banking ties between the two neighboring countries.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Iraqi President Barham Salih in Tehran in November, Rouhani said the value of trade and economic interaction between Tehran and Baghdad stands at around $12 billion, adding that the two neighbors have the potential for a $20-billion trade target.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By John Lee.

A delegation of major Lebanese companies have arrived in Baghdad for a series of meetings with Iraq’s National Investment Commission (NIC).

The were accompanied the Lebanese Minister of Telecommunications, Dr. Muhamed Shuqair, and the opening meeting was attended by the Iraqi Minister of telecommunications, Dr. Naeem Al- Rubaiee; NIC Chairman, Dr. Sami Al- Araji; Chairman of the Damaged Areas Reconstruction Fund, Mustafa Al- Heti; and the Head of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) office in Iraq, Mr. Ziad Badr.

In his opening speech, Dr. Al-Araji invited Lebanese companies to get involved in the Iraqi market “in a way that is consistent with the historical and social relations between the two countries“.

(Source: NIC)

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

How will US sanctions affect Iran-Iraq economic relations?

The Trump administration is giving Iraq a few more months to continue buying oil and electricity from neighbouring Iran before the United States enforces sanctions against Tehran.

After years of conflict, Baghdad now relies heavily on Iran for goods and services.

And Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is visiting Iraq to solidify ties between the neighbours, trying to convince them to defy the US president.

Al Jazeera‘s Natasha Ghoneim reports from Baghdad:

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From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

In Iraq, reconstruction remains a daunting obstacle to displaced people returning home.

The government has allocated money and established commissions for people to file for assistance.

But there is little sign of that money being used for reconstruction after years of war that devastated the country.

Al Jazeera’s Natasha Ghoneim reports from Mosul:

By John Lee.

The National Investment Commission (NIC) has announced a new investment opportunity in Iraq:

(Source: National Investment Commission)

(Picture: Business opportunity word cloud, from ibreakstock/Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

The National Investment Commission (NIC) has announced a new investment opportunity in Iraq:

(Source: National Investment Commission)

(Picture: Business opportunity word cloud, from ibreakstock/Shutterstock)

By Dana Taib Menmy for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

In a bid to control armed violence and high crime rates, the Kurdistan Regional Government has given gun owners six months to register their arms and give up their heavy weapons. KRG Interior Minister Karim Sinjari issued the Feb. 10 decree to restrict the possession of such weapons to the armed forces.

People must register all pistols and rifles at security centers. After the deadline, anyone with unregistered or illegal weapons will be prosecuted.

“We are now making preparations for implementing the decree. We printed forms for registering weapons, and this week we will announce the opening of security centers where people can register their weapons or hand over their heavy arms,” Sami Jalal, the Interior Ministry’s chief of staff, told Al-Monitor.

Click here to read the full story.

By Dana Taib Menmy for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

In a bid to control armed violence and high crime rates, the Kurdistan Regional Government has given gun owners six months to register their arms and give up their heavy weapons. KRG Interior Minister Karim Sinjari issued the Feb. 10 decree to restrict the possession of such weapons to the armed forces.

People must register all pistols and rifles at security centers. After the deadline, anyone with unregistered or illegal weapons will be prosecuted.

“We are now making preparations for implementing the decree. We printed forms for registering weapons, and this week we will announce the opening of security centers where people can register their weapons or hand over their heavy arms,” Sami Jalal, the Interior Ministry’s chief of staff, told Al-Monitor.

Click here to read the full story.