Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has ordered the formation of a committee tasked to build a nuclear reactor for research purposes, the Iraqi Radioactive Sources Regulatory Authority (IRSRA) revealed.

Speaking to the Iraqi News Agency, the head of the IRSRA, Hussein Latif, said that Al-Kadhimi is “aware of the importance of the issue of atomic energy”, following discussions held with French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday. Al-Kadhimi is scheduled to visit France next month, as part of a European tour.

Latif added that Iraq is “looking forward to restoring its position in nuclear science, which it occupied in the 1970s and 1980s”, highlighting a recent resolution by the UN Security Council in support of Iraq’s renewed peaceful aspirations in the nuclear field.

The reactors will be able to help produce medical isotopes and pharmaceuticals, in addition to having agricultural and industrial applications such as seed irradiation, nuclear insect sterilisation for pest control, and production of radioactive isotopes with various industrial benefits, Latif explained.

The nuclear plant, which by estimates could take five years to construct, could also help solve Iraq’s electrical shortages, which in recent months have caused mass public outcry.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

The post Iraq Plans to Build Nuclear Reactor for Research Purposes first appeared on Iraq Business News.

From Middle East Monitor, under a Creative Commons licence. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture yesterday banned the import of 29 agricultural crops and animal products due to their abundance in the local markets.

The list of banned products includes cucumbers, eggplant (aubergine), honey, garlic, dates, tomatoes, as well as eggs, chicken and frozen and chilled marine and river fish.

The ministry explained that the order is based on the Economic Affairs Committee’s decision to ban the import of the aforementioned products from all border crossings, regardless of the import permit’s date.

The post Iraq Bans Import of 29 Agricultural, Animal Products first appeared on Iraq Business News.

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Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 25th Sept 2020).

Please click here to view a table of listed companies and their associated ticker codes.

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD658 (-2.2%) / $689 (-2.2%) (weekly change) (-0.1% and -1.7% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 25.0 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD24.1 bn ($19.4 mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • ISX will suspend trading of Al-Ahlyia for Agricultural Production (AAHP) starting Oct. 14, 2020 due to the AGM that will be held on Oct. 19, 2020 to discuss and approve the results of the ending year Mar. 31, 2020, distributing cash dividends, the possibility to purchase an agricultural land, and electing five original and five alternative board members.
  • ISX will suspend trading of Al-Khazer for Construction Materials (IKHC) starting on Oct. 6, 2020 due to the AGM that will be held on Oct. 10, 2020 to discuss and approve 2019 annual financial statements and distributing cash dividend.
  • ISX will suspend trading of Gulf Insurance and Reinsurance (NGIR) starting Oct. 1, 2020 due to the AGM that will be held on Oct. 6, 2020 to discuss and approve 2019 annual financial statements, distributing cash dividend and increasing its capital from IQD2.0 bn to IQD7.0 bn through 250% rights issue.
  • ISX will suspend trading of Al Taif Islamic Bank for Investment & Finance (BTIB) starting Sep. 27, 2020 due to the AGM that will be held on Sep. 30, 2020 to discuss and approve 2019 annual financial statements, distributing cash dividend and increasing its capital from IQD100.207 bn to IQD150 bn through 49.7% rights issue.
  • The AGM of Modern Sewing (IMOS), which was planning to be held on Sep. 22, 2020, has been postponed due to lack of quorum.
  • ISX suspended trading of National Company for Tourism Investment (HNTI) starting Sep. 24, 2020 due to the GA that will be held on Sep. 29, 2020 to discuss appointing an inspection committee based on articles 140 – 134 of the Companies Law.
  • ISX suspended trading of Al Mustashar Islamic Bank for Invest. & Finance (BMUI) starting Sep. 23, 2020 due to the AGM that will be held on Sep. 28, 2020 to discuss and approve 2019 annual financial statements.
  • In its AGM held on Sep. 21, 2020, Ashur International Bank for Investment (BASH) decided to distribute IQD0.02 dividend per share (6.3% dividend yield); however, the CBI objected that decision in the meeting because the bank hasn’t recorded provisions by applying IFRS 9, yet. The company said even if the dividend distribution decision will take place in AGM minutes, they will remove it from AGM decisions if CBI objects the decision while auditing the decisions.
  • Cross transactions: 18.9 bn shares of Rajih Islamic Bank for Investment & Finance (BRAJ) on Sep. 21, 22 and 23, 2020, which represent 7.6% of BRAJ’s capital.

The post Iraq Stock Market Report first appeared on Iraq Business News.

From the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ):

Iraqi Kurdish police arrest journalist Bahroz Jaafer over criminal defamation suit filed by Iraq’s president

Kurdish authorities in Iraq should immediately release journalist Bahroz Jaafer, drop all charges against him, and allow the press to cover and write critically about politicians without fear of detention or legal action, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Yesterday, police arrested Jaafer, a columnist for the independent news website Peyser Press, in the northeastern Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah and transferred him to the Azmar police station, where he remains in detention, according to news reports and a statement by the Metro Center for Journalists’ Rights and Advocacy, a local press freedom group.

Authorities charged Jaafer with criminal defamation, according to the Metro Center. If tried and convicted under Article 433 of Iraq’s penal code, Jaafer could face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to 100 dinars (about 8 US cents).

The arrest was sparked by a defamation complaint filed by the lawyer of Iraqi President Barham Salih, in response to a column by Jaafer criticizing the president, according to those reports.

“Iraqi authorities should develop a thicker skin and stop resorting to the criminal code to stifle critical reporting and commentary,” said CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa representative, Ignacio Miguel Delgado. “Iraqi President Salih should immediately drop the defamation complaint against journalist Bahroz Jaafer, and local authorities should release him unconditionally.”

On August 29, Jaafer published a column titled “How much longer will the president be driving the wrong side?” in which he criticized Salih, also an ethnic Kurd, for allegedly failing to support Iraqi Kurdistan amid disputes with the national government over land, oil, and the autonomous region’s budget.

Karwan Anwar, head of the Sulaymaniyah branch of the government-funded Kurdistan Journalists’ Syndicate, told local broadcaster Rudaw that Jaafer, a member of the syndicate, is required to remain in detention until a hearing scheduled for September 30, unless he is granted bail beforehand.

The Iraqi president’s media office did not immediately reply to CPJ’s request for comment sent via messaging app. Dindar Zebari, the Kurdish regional government’s coordinator for international advocacy, did not immediately reply to CPJ’s emailed request for comment.

(Source: CPJ)

The post Iraqi Kurdish Police Arrest Journalist for “Defamation” first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Higher Committee for Health and National Safety has decided to “ban the entry into Iraq of visitors  from all countries“. The move is an attempt to combat the coronavirus (Covid-19).

This will create problems for religious pilgrims hoping to attend the Shi’ite Muslim gathering of Arbaeen, held in early October, which would normally bring millions of people to the holy city of Kerbala.

According to Iran’s Tasnim news agency, Iraq’s Ambassador to Iran, Nasir Abdul Muhsin, confirmed that no foreign pilgrim will be permitted to visit Iraq for this year’s mourning rituals marking Arbaeen.

(Sources: Govt of Iraq, Tasnim)

The post Iraq Bans Foreign Arbaeen Pilgrims over COVID-19 Fears first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Foreign Minister Renews Call for European Commission to Remove Iraq from List of High-risk Countries in Terrorist Financing and Money Laundering

Foreign Minister Mr. Fuad Hussein has met with Mr. Josep Borrell, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in the European Union, at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels.

Minister Fuad Hussein praised the European Union’s positions in support of Iraq in the various developmental fields and in the field of humanitarian aid, praising the Union’s keenness to provide political and economic support to Iraq, especially its assistance in the field of confronting the Coronavirus pandemic and limiting its spread.

The two sides also touched on the meetings of the Joint Committee for Human Rights and Democracy that were held on 8/9/2020, and stressed the importance of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement concluded between Iraq and the European Union countries, as it represents the strategic framework for the relationship between the two sides, referring to the importance of resuming the meetings of the remaining committees emanating from the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the two sides, which is the Trade and Energy Committees.

Minister Fuad Hussein affirmed Iraq’s commitment to the principle of respecting the sovereignty of states and not interfering in their internal affairs, expressing his absolute rejection of Iraq turning into an arena for conflict between competing parties, or a starting point for aggression against any other country, stressing the need to support Iraq’s efforts to be a factor of stability in the region and the world.

Minister Fuad Hussein also touched on the government’s decision to hold early elections next June, and its aspiration to cooperate with international parties interested in this matter.

The two sides discussed the issue of removing Iraq from the European Commission’s list of high-risk countries in the field of money laundering and terrorist financing and renewed inviting the relevant authorities in the commission to accelerate dialogue with the concerned technical authorities in Iraq in order to complete the evaluation of Iraq’s performance in this field, and remove it from this list.

Minister Fuad Hussein extended an invitation to Mr. Borrell to visit Iraq at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss means of strengthening bilateral relations between the two sides.

(Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

The post Call for EU to Remove Iraq from List of High-Risk Countries first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Iraq Forms Delegation to Negotiate Water Share with Iran, Turkey

The Iraqi Foreign Relations Committee in Parliament formed a special delegation headed by the Minister of Water Resources, Mahdi Rashid Al-Hamdani, to resolve the water file with Iran and Turkey.

The committee’s rapporteur, MP Iqbal Abdul Hussein, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been informed of the formation of the delegation under the direction of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.

The negotiations delegation will seek to have serious solutions to releasing the shared water, and not establishing more dams, which have turned a number of regions in Iraq into deserts, as well as cut off a lot of water from agricultural areas,” she added.

The committee stressed on the importance that the negotiating team succeeds in resolving the water crisis and using economic relations “as a means to pressure Iran and Turkey” to resolve the water file.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

The post Iraq to Negotiate Water Share with Iran, Turkey first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Advertising Feature

Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 17th Sept 2020).

Please click here to view a table of listed companies and their associated ticker codes.

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD673 (+3.9%) / $705 (+3.9%) (weekly change) (+2.2% and +0.5% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 8.2 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD7.4 bn ($6.0 mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • The Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) is pleased to invite those interested in dealing with shares of Joint Stock Companies listed on the ISX to participate in the introductory lecture on Zoom that will be held on Tuesday (Sep. 27, 2020) at 12:30 pm Baghdad time. The lecture will be free and the recording will be published by the ISX. Meeting ID: 87153812486, meeting password: 127792. For the link of the lecture, please click HERE.
  • Fallujah for Construction Materials (IFCM) will hold an AGM on Oct. 11, 2020 to discuss and approve 2017 annual financial statements and to elect 5 original and 5 alternative board members. The company has been suspended from trading since Jul. 6, 2015 due to not disclosing 2014 – 2018 annual financial statements and 2015 – 2018 quarterly results.
  • ISX will suspend trading of AL Arabiya Islamic Bank (BAAI) starting Sep. 28, 2020 due to the AGM that will be held on Oct. 1, 2020 to discuss and approve 2019 annual financial statements, the company’s dividends for the ending year 2019, profit from currency window purchase and sale, purchase of Express Payment Company for electronic payment LLC., establishing a brokerage company, establishing AL Arabiya Exchange Company/ Joint Stock Company, eliminating non-operating subsidiaries, and electing 7 original and 7 alternative board members.
  • Kharkh Tour Amusement City (SKTA) will resume trading on Sep. 20, 2020 after its AGM held on Sep. 7, 2020 in which they discussed and approved 2018 annual financial statements and deciding to amortize 25% of the accumulated deficit.
  • ISX will suspend trading of National Company for Tourism Investment (HNTI) starting Sep. 25, 2020 due to the GA that will be held on Sep. 29, 2020 to discuss appointing an inspection committee based on articles 140 – 134 of the Companies Law.
  • ISX will suspend trading of Al Mustashar Islamic Bank for Invest. & Finan. (BMUI) starting Sep. 23, 2020 due to the AGM that will be held on Sep. 28, 2020 to discuss and approve 2019 annual financial statements.

The post Iraq Stock Market now Positive Year-to-Date first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Iraq launches National Adaptation Plan process for climate change resilience

The Government of Iraq, in partnership with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), has launched a process to develop a National Adaptation Plan (NAP) to build the country’s resilience to climate change.

The NAP process aims to reduce vulnerability to the negative impacts of climate change, especially in developing countries, through strategic planning based on projections of future climate change. NAPs are seen as one of the most important mechanisms for adapting to climate change.

The three-year project, funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) with over USD$2.5m, will support Iraq to formulate and implement its NAP, with a particular focus on strengthening institutional, technical and financial capacities to ensure that medium- to long-term adaptation needs are integrated into national development planning.

The project launch event was held virtually on 16 September, in the presence of the Ministry of Health and Environment in Iraq, the Nationally Designated Authority (NDA) committee, representatives of other Iraqi ministries, the National Committee on Climate Change, local non-governmental organizations, and representatives from UN organizations working in the country.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Jasim Humadi, Deputy Minister of Health and Environment in Iraq and National Focal Point of GCF, said:

“According to the GEO-6 report issued by UNEP, Iraq is classified as the fifth most vulnerable country in the world to decreased water and food availability and extreme temperatures, which will negatively affect food security, water security, social security and health security in Iraq. This project will support national efforts that focus on increasing Iraq’s adaptive capacity, increasing the resilience of affected sectors, increasing the awareness and preparedness of rural communities, supporting youth and women, and achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.”

A key aspect of Iraq’s NAP process is to identify, assess and bridge existing gaps in climate knowledge, as these gaps constitute barriers to long-term climate planning across local, regional and national planning processes. Climate risk assessments will be carried out to identify the livelihoods and sectors most threatened by climate impacts, as well as the most urgent adaptation priorities.

UNEP’s Regional Director and Representative in West Asia, Sami Dimassi, noted:

“The impacts of climate change on development in Iraq are already being experienced. This new project aims to reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change by strengthening the country’s adaptive capacity and preparing the ground for future adaptation planning and projects. UNEP is proud to be the executing entity for the project and remains deeply committed to its core mandate of facilitating environmental governance and working with the Government of Iraq to ensure the NAP process allows for building back better.”

Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano (pictured), the UN Resident Coordinator for Iraq said:

“The development of this National Adaptation Plan could not be more important for Iraq as it is a country highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The United Nations stands ready to assist Iraq to further strengthen institutional and technical capacities. We will make the best use of the mandates and expertise of our system to deliver as one today and beyond the lifespan of the project.”

Climate change in Iraq is expected to reduce annual rainfall, which will lead to a surge in dust storms, a reduction in agricultural productivity, and increased water scarcity. These challenges are likely to have serious impacts on the health of the people of Iraq, as well as the agricultural and industry sectors, which contribute significantly to the Iraq’s GDP.

(Source: UN)

The post Iraq launches Plan for Climate Change Resilience first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By Michael Knights, for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Kadhimi’s Rolling Reshuffle (Part 2): Protecting Iraq’s Economic Institutions and Borders

On September 14, Baghdad announced a range of strategic leadership appointments for institutions tasked with overseeing Iraq’s economy, borders, and anti-corruption efforts-a list that includes banks, customs authorities, airports, seaports, land crossings, municipal bodies, investigative committees, and more.

The ambitious scope of the appointments and the centralized manner in which they were made says a great deal about Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s commitment to changing the corrosive status quo in Baghdad.

The question now is whether his government can withstand the coming pushback from militia and political elements who benefit from that status quo. The following is a digest of the new technocratic appointments and their implications; see Part 1 of this PolicyWatch for a discussion of Kadhimi’s recent military reshuffling.

Click here to read the full article, which includes details of the new appointments.

The post Details of PM’s New Appointments to Key Institutions first appeared on Iraq Business News.