By Padraig O’Hannelly.

Following the increase in tensions in the Gulf region in recent weeks, two British diplomats have expressed the view that Iraq could have a positive role to play.

Addressing delegates at CWC‘s Iraq Petroleum conference in London, the British Ambassador to Iraq, Jonathan Wilks CMG, said:

Iraq is strong enough now to keep itself out of whatever may develop between the US and Iran, as long as it asserts its sovereignty and independence with all countries, not just with Iran and the US, but with all countries east and west. It is powerful enough to do this now … [and] must be taken seriously as an economic power.

“Iraq is back as a reasonable, constructive and credible player in world affairs.

Later at the same gathering, Sir William Patey KCMG (pictured on left), a former UK Ambassador to both Iraq and Saudi Arabia, said:

Iraq is in a unique position, in that it has equity in ensuring that there isn’t a war … and I think a confident new Iraq could play a role.

“It has better relations with Saudi Arabia, it has good relations with Iran, it has a close relationship with the United States, and it has a lot at stake. So I actually think in terms of reducing the tensions, I think there is potential for Iraq, and I think  the current leadership of Iraq has the [right] vision and outlook.”

Official delegations from Iran and Iraq held the second meeting of a joint commission for coordination on Arvand Rud, a border river flowing in Iran’s southwestern province of Khuzestan.

The Tuesday meeting was held in Tehran within the framework of an agreement signed by the heads of the two states.

The meeting was co-chaired by the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s director general for legal and international affairs and the Iraqi foreign minister’s advisor.

In the gathering, attended by the representatives of various Iranian and Iraqi ministries and organizations, the two sides discussed the general framework of the arrangements for dredging and clean-up of Arvand Rud, and agreed that the joint operational ideas would be submitted to the high-ranking officials of the two countries to be agreed upon and implemented.

Prior to the talks, the interim technical task force on dredging Arvand Rud had held a meeting, during which technical experts from the two countries held negotiations on a timetable for the operations regarding the clean-up of Arvand Rud, according to the Foreign Ministry’s official website.

Back in May, Iranian and Iraqi authorities signed the proceedings of a meeting that had been held to study the technical issues of dredging Arvand Rud.

Tehran and Baghdad have already signed an agreement to resolve disagreements over Arvand Rud based on the 1975 Algiers Accord, which deals with border issues and norms of good neighborliness.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Official delegations from Iran and Iraq held the second meeting of a joint commission for coordination on Arvand Rud, a border river flowing in Iran’s southwestern province of Khuzestan.

The Tuesday meeting was held in Tehran within the framework of an agreement signed by the heads of the two states.

The meeting was co-chaired by the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s director general for legal and international affairs and the Iraqi foreign minister’s advisor.

In the gathering, attended by the representatives of various Iranian and Iraqi ministries and organizations, the two sides discussed the general framework of the arrangements for dredging and clean-up of Arvand Rud, and agreed that the joint operational ideas would be submitted to the high-ranking officials of the two countries to be agreed upon and implemented.

Prior to the talks, the interim technical task force on dredging Arvand Rud had held a meeting, during which technical experts from the two countries held negotiations on a timetable for the operations regarding the clean-up of Arvand Rud, according to the Foreign Ministry’s official website.

Back in May, Iranian and Iraqi authorities signed the proceedings of a meeting that had been held to study the technical issues of dredging Arvand Rud.

Tehran and Baghdad have already signed an agreement to resolve disagreements over Arvand Rud based on the 1975 Algiers Accord, which deals with border issues and norms of good neighborliness.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

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

Basra protests build in Iraq as sub-standard services persist

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, Iraqi Minister of Electricity Luay al-Khatteeb talked about the situation of Iraq’s electricity sector amid tense US-Iran relations.

He discussed the waiver timeline that Washington granted Baghdad to keep buying Iranian gas and mentioned his fear that some parties are politicizing the electricity sector in Iraq.

Click here to read the full story.

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

Basra protests build in Iraq as sub-standard services persist

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, Iraqi Minister of Electricity Luay al-Khatteeb talked about the situation of Iraq’s electricity sector amid tense US-Iran relations.

He discussed the waiver timeline that Washington granted Baghdad to keep buying Iranian gas and mentioned his fear that some parties are politicizing the electricity sector in Iraq.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

Iraq and Iran have reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) relating to cooperation in the tourism sector.

According to Tehran Times, the document includes the areas of medical tourism and religious tourism, and was agreed between Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, and Iraq’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities.

In March, Tehran and Baghdad agreed to waive fees on visas in the hope of increasing the tourist numbers.

(Source: Tehran Times)

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

Iraq exports around 3.5 million barrels of oil a day.

Heightened regional tensions between the US and Iran and recent attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf have heightened security fears.

The government of Iraq is worried about the threat to its oil exports – and how its economy could suffer.

Al Jazeera‘s Charles Stratford reports:

A top commander voiced Iran’s readiness to provide neighboring Iraq with whatever means necessary for air defense.

In comments on Sunday, Commander of Khatam al-Anbia Anti-Aircraft Base of the Iranian Army, Brigadier General Alireza Sabahi Fard, said the Iranian Air Defense is fully prepared to satisfy Iraq’s air defense demands in all areas.

By relying on local experts, the Iranian Air Defense is ready to help Iraq in manufacturing and providing technical support for various air defense systems, the Iranian general said at a meeting with Major General Tariq Abbas Ibrahim Abdul Hussein, chairman of the Iran-Iraq joint commission, held in Tehran.

Sabahi Fard also noted that the Iranian technicians have manufactured a whole host of air defense systems, including tactical and stationary radars, artillery and missile weapons, signal and data collecting equipment, electronic warfare gear, and drones for missions and applications in diverse frequencies and ranges.

“We are ready to form expert committees in all spheres to pave the way for the launch and promotion of mutual cooperation,” the Iranian commander added.

For his part, the Iraqi general hailed Iran’s advances in the air defense industry, saying Iraqi military delegations have been acquainted with the Islamic Republic’s great capabilities after a series of visits to Iran.

The Iraqi commander also expressed his country’s willingness to work with Iranian air defense experts for manufacturing equipment, training, and technical support in various fields, such as electronic warfare, radars, visual monitoring, command and control, radar-related calculations, and software systems.

In April, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri said Tehran and Baghdad have agreed to launch air defense cooperation to combat possible threats to Iran’s western border.

Later in May, Commander of Iraq’s Navy Major General Ahmed Jasim Maarij and Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy Rear Admiral Ali Reza Tangsiri met in Tehran to discuss promoting defense cooperation in the naval sphere, forming a joint commission of naval cooperation, enhancing coordination between the two navies, holding joint educational, scientific and research courses, sharing academic experiences, and staging joint naval exercises.

In July 2017, Iran and Iraq signed an agreement to boost military cooperation in a host of fields, including counterterrorism.

Based on the deal, Tehran and Baghdad try to promote interaction and share experiences in the fight against terrorism and extremism, work together to ensure border security, and provide each other with training and logistical, technical and military support.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

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.

Iran already turning Iraq into battleground against US

As tension intensifies between Washington and Tehran, attacks against US interests in Iraq are increasing quickly and significantly.

A short-range Katyusha missile on June 19 hit the Burjesia site that houses the operations and residential headquarters of several global oil companies, including US energy giant ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell of the Netherlands and Italy’s Eni.

The complex is west of Basra in southern Iraq, near the Zubair oil field and the Iranian border.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

The Trump administration has reportedly granted Iraq a 120-day waiver from its sanctions against Iran, to allow it to continue importing electricity from the country during the hottest of the summer weather.

The decision followed a phone call on Friday between Secretary of State Michael Pompeo (pictured) and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.

The State Dept said it is continuing to work with Iraq to end its dependence on Iranian natural gas and electricity.

(Sources: Bloomberg, The National)