Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian (pictured) has said the export of electricity to neighboring countries has reached a record high in the past year.

Addressing a Sunday session of Tehran’s City Council, Ardakanian said management of the situation over the past two water years has helped the country break the record in three sectors of the power industry.

The minister said the records in electricity generation, power consumption and exports have been broken since 2017-2018 water year.

According to Ardakanian, Iran’s export of electricity to neighboring states, particularly to Iraq, reached a record high last year.

Ardakanian and his Iraqi counterpart Luay al-Khatteeb signed two memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and a contract in February to boost cooperation between the two countries in the electricity industry.

On Wednesday, a US State Department spokesman said Washington has once again exempted Iraq from its sanctions against Iran, allowing the Arab country to continue gas and electricity imports from the Islamic Republic for another four-month period.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By John Lee.

The US has granted Iraq another 120-day waiver from its sanctions on Iran.

According to S&P Global, a State Department spokesman said the waiver ensures that Iraq is able to meet its short-term energy needs while it takes steps to reduce its dependence on Iranian energy imports.

(Source: S&P Global)

Iran’s Ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi (pictured) praised the Baghdad government’s move to remove visa restrictions for Iranian pilgrims visiting the Arab country during the Arbaeen season and said the Islamic Republic will do the same for the Iraqi nationals in the near future.

Speaking at a meeting of the Arbaeen Headquarters of the western province of Ilam on Tuesday, Masjedi hailed the recent reopening of the Khosravi border crossing and the removal of visa restrictions for Iranians during the Arbaeen season, which marks the 40th day of the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Shiite Imam.

He further said Iraqi nationals will soon be allowed to enter Iran without visas for 65 days.

To reciprocate Iraq’s move regarding visa-free travels for Iranian pilgrims, Iran plans to allow Iraqi nationals to enter the country without visas for 65 days as of October 24, he added.

Speaking on Monday, Hossein Zolfaqari, Iran’s deputy interior minister for security affairs, said three million pilgrims had crossed the country’s four borders with Iraq for Arbaeen pilgrimage by then.

This year, the four borders of Khosravi, Mehran, Chazzabeh, and Shalamcheh are open to the Arbaeen pilgrims.

Arbaeen, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, comes 40 days after Ashura, the martyrdom anniversary of the third Shiite Imam.

Each year, a huge crowd of Shiites flock to the Iraqi city of Karbala, where the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (AS) is located, to perform mourning rites.

In August, Iran and Iraq signed an agreement in Tehran to reopen the Khosravi border crossing and remove visa restrictions for Iranian Arbaeen pilgrims.

Iran and Iraq also agreed to raise the level of services and facilities for the pilgrims and enhance border security during the Arbaeen season, which will culminate in a large gathering in Karbala on October 19.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

More than three million Iranians have registered to visit the holy cities of Iraq during the Arbaeen season, which marks the 40th day after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Shiite Imam, a senior official said on Saturday.

Amir Moradi, the executive manager of a task force charged with handling the Arbaeen pilgrimage, said by 8:30 on Saturday morning, the number of people who have registered at the Samah website, has surpassed three million.

The Samah website has been launched by Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization to facilitate sending pilgrims to Iraq’s holy sites during the Arbaeen season.

Moradi pointed to the Iranian provinces that account for the largest number of people registered to go on the pilgrimage to Iraq, and said Tehran, with 500,118 names registered, is on the top of the list.

This year, the four borders of Khosravi, Mehran, Chazzabeh, and Shalamcheh are open to the Arbaeen pilgrims.

Arbaeen, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, comes 40 days after Ashura, the martyrdom anniversary of the third Shiite Imam.

Each year, a huge crowd of Shiites flock to the Iraqi city of Karbala, where the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (AS) is located, to perform mourning rites.

In August, Iran and Iraq signed an agreement in Tehran to reopen the Khosravi border crossing and remove visa restrictions for Iranian Arbaeen pilgrims.

Iran and Iraq also agreed to raise the level of services and facilities for the pilgrims and enhance border security during the Arbaeen season, which will culminate in a large gathering in Karbala on October 19.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By Robert S. Ford and Randa Slim, for Foreign Affairs. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Last week, rockets landed in what was once known as the Green Zone—the heavily fortified neighborhood in western Baghdad where the American embassy is located. It was the second such attack since May, when another rocket exploded near the massive U.S. compound.

Then as now, the Trump administration thinks the attacks were the work of Shiite militias in Iraq with close ties to Iran. Washington has long called on the Iraqi government to clamp down on these Iranian proxy forces and cut off relations with Tehran.

The U.S. response to the latest attack will likely be to double down on those calls and dial up the pressure on Baghdad.

Click here to read the full story.

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.

As violent protests continued for a second day in Baghdad and other southern Iraqi cities, head of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) Falih al-Fayyadh arrived in Washington to meet with US Defense Secretary Mark Esper Oct. 2.

This comes in conjunction with the US Embassy in Baghdad urging all parties to avoid using violence.

The mass protests erupted on Tuesday. According to the Iraqi government, at least two people were killed and more than 200 wounded, including 40 security officers, during the first day of protests.

Security forces used tear gas, water cannons and live fire to disperse demonstrators.

Click here to read the full story.

(Picture credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By John Lee.

Iraq reportedly reopened the Al-Qaim border-crossing with Syria on Monday, following a closure of eight years.

Syrian Interior Minister Mohammad Khaled al-Rahmoun, is quoted as saying that the opening signified “the victory of the Iraqi and Syrian people over all terrorist groups, especially Daesh.

According to Reuters, the crossing is crucial for Iran’s bid to cement its growing sway over a corridor of territory from Tehran to Beirut.

The crossing is 300 km (185 miles) west of Baghdad, in Anbar province.

(Sources: Reuters, Al Jazeera)

An Iranian private bank has been authorized by the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) to open seven branches in the Arab country, an official said.

According to the Chairman of the Iranian Private Banks Institute, Koorosh Parvizian, the Iranian private bank has already opened two of the seven branches in Iraq.

He noted that opening of the new banks in the Arab country are part of plans to support Iran’s exports to the Iraqi market.

Every new branch of the Iranian private bank has a capital of $50 million, Parvizian added.

He further stressed that Iran’s private banks and credit institutions were prepared to provide financing for Iranian technical and engineering projects in Iraq.

In July, secretary-general of the Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce pointed to the Arab country’s move to allocate $300 billion to its reconstruction, saying there were proper opportunities available for Iranian companies to take part in the process.

In March, Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Reza Rahmani said Tehran and Baghdad have agreed to reach the target of raising the value of annual trade exchange to $20 billion within two years.

Iran and Iraq enjoy cordial political, security and cultural ties but due to some internal and regional problems including Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL) terrorism in Iraq, they have not been able to increase their trade volume.

Iran’s main exports to the neighboring country include agro products, foodstuff and fruits such as watermelon, tomato and cucumber, which account for 37% of the total exports.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

An Iranian private bank has been authorized by the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) to open seven branches in the Arab country, an official said.

According to the Chairman of the Iranian Private Banks Institute, Koorosh Parvizian, the Iranian private bank has already opened two of the seven branches in Iraq.

He noted that opening of the new banks in the Arab country are part of plans to support Iran’s exports to the Iraqi market.

Every new branch of the Iranian private bank has a capital of $50 million, Parvizian added.

He further stressed that Iran’s private banks and credit institutions were prepared to provide financing for Iranian technical and engineering projects in Iraq.

In July, secretary-general of the Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce pointed to the Arab country’s move to allocate $300 billion to its reconstruction, saying there were proper opportunities available for Iranian companies to take part in the process.

In March, Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Reza Rahmani said Tehran and Baghdad have agreed to reach the target of raising the value of annual trade exchange to $20 billion within two years.

Iran and Iraq enjoy cordial political, security and cultural ties but due to some internal and regional problems including Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL) terrorism in Iraq, they have not been able to increase their trade volume.

Iran’s main exports to the neighboring country include agro products, foodstuff and fruits such as watermelon, tomato and cucumber, which account for 37% of the total exports.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

An Iranian private bank has been authorized by the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) to open seven branches in the Arab country, an official said.

According to the Chairman of the Iranian Private Banks Institute, Koorosh Parvizian, the Iranian private bank has already opened two of the seven branches in Iraq.

He noted that opening of the new banks in the Arab country are part of plans to support Iran’s exports to the Iraqi market.

Every new branch of the Iranian private bank has a capital of $50 million, Parvizian added.

He further stressed that Iran’s private banks and credit institutions were prepared to provide financing for Iranian technical and engineering projects in Iraq.

In July, secretary-general of the Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce pointed to the Arab country’s move to allocate $300 billion to its reconstruction, saying there were proper opportunities available for Iranian companies to take part in the process.

In March, Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Reza Rahmani said Tehran and Baghdad have agreed to reach the target of raising the value of annual trade exchange to $20 billion within two years.

Iran and Iraq enjoy cordial political, security and cultural ties but due to some internal and regional problems including Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL) terrorism in Iraq, they have not been able to increase their trade volume.

Iran’s main exports to the neighboring country include agro products, foodstuff and fruits such as watermelon, tomato and cucumber, which account for 37% of the total exports.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)