By John Lee.

Iraq’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Ali Alhakim [Mohammed Ali al-Hakim] (pictured) has been quoted as saying that Iraq is not obliged to abide by US sanctions against Iran.

According to Rudaw, he told journalists on Wednesday:

“These sanctions, the siege, or what is called the embargo, these are unilateral, not international. We are not obliged [to follow] them.”

Some “possibilities” have been proposed that would keep trade routes open with Iran, “including dealing in Iraqi dinars in bilateral trade,” he added.

More here.

(Source: Rudaw)

The secretary general of Iran-Iraq joint chamber of commerce highlighted an upward trend in the export of Iranian products to Iraq.

In a meeting with Iranian and Iraqi trade delegations, Hamid Hosseini pointed to a growing trend in Iran’s exports to the Arab country, saying its daily value stands at $45 million and sometimes reaches $70 million.

Noting that most of the oil and gas projects in Iraq are undertaken by European and Chinese contractors, he deplored that although Iranian companies have won the bidding to carry out such projects in Iraq, a series of problems have prevented them from starting the job in the Arab country.

He was referring to the US sanctions on Iran and Washington’s pressures on Baghdad to stop doing business with Tehran.

Iraq’s new Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim has made it clear that his country cannot cut off trade ties with Iran under the US sanctions, saying the value of annual trade between Iran and Iraq amounts to $12 billion.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

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

There is a fight over energy in Iraq between the US and Iran. Iraq relies on Iranian gas for nearly half of its energy – gas that is now subject to US sanctions on Iran.

The Iraqi government originally obtained a 45-day sanctions waiver from the US, but that waiver is set to expire next week.

Iraq is particularly sensitive to the issue after protests against electricity cuts rocked Basra earlier in the year and Iraq’s new government is treading a thin line trying to keep both the US and Iran happy, and its people satisfied.

Al Jazeera’s Charlotte Bellis reports:

The central banks of Iran and Iraq are finalizing negotiations to begin trade in their own currencies, chairman of Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce said.

Speaking to Tasnim, Yahya Ale-Eshaq said negotiations between the central banks of Iran and Iraq are under way to reach an agreement on using rial and dinar in bilateral trade.

Once finalized, the agreement would allow the banks of the two countries to issue letters of credit on the basis of Iranian rial and Iraqi dinar, he added.

Ale-Eshaq also noted that the value of Iran’s exports to Iraq in the first eight months of the current Iranian year (March 21- November 21) reached $8 billion, equal to the total amount of exports to Iraq in the previous year.

On Saturday, secretary general of Iran-Iraq joint chamber of commerce, Hamid Hosseini, said the daily value of Iran’s exports to Iraq stands at $45 million and sometimes reaches $70 million.

Iraq’s new Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim has made it clear that his country cannot cut off trade ties with Iran under the US sanctions, saying the value of annual trade between Iran and Iraq amounts to $12 billion.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By John Lee.

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry spent the last two days trying to convince the Iraqi government that it’s in its best interest to cut energy ties with Iran.

But according to a report from Washington Examiner, his efforts have had limited success.

Perry tweeted:

“In bilateral meetings with Iraqi President @BarhamSalih, Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi, and Speaker Mohammed Al-Halbousi I reaffirmed that the U.S. stands ready to assist the Iraqi people in transitioning from Iranian energy dependence to using their full domestic energy potential.”

Iran is Iraq’s neighbor and an important supplier of the natural gas that fuels the nation’s electric grid, which is crucial to Iraq’s economy and oil industry.

More here.

(Source: Washington Examiner)

Iraq’s new Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim highlighted the importance of bilateral relations with Iran and said the Arab country cannot cut off its trade ties with the Islamic Republic due to the US sanctions.

Alhakim pointed to Washington’s economic sanctions against Tehran and said, the value of annual trade between Iran and Iraq amount to $12 billion, the Arabic-language Al-Manar TV reported.

“We are not in a situation that we would be able to stop our trade exchanges with Iran,” the Iraqi top diplomat noted.

Earlier, Luqman al-Fili, the official spokesman for Iraqi President Barham Salih, had said that the US sanctions against Iran are part of regional tensions.

It is necessary that the citizens of the region are not affected by the embargoes, Fili said, adding that Baghdad is ready to cooperate to decrease the tensions.

The second batch of US sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran took effect on November 5.

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.

Other Iranian exports to Iraq include canned food, tomato paste, chicken, egg, meat, construction materials (mainly rebar, tiles and ceramics), steel and evaporative cooler.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

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

As the United States enacts sanctions on Iran, Iran is increasing its influence in Iraq with plans for a railway that could work around US restrictions.

The state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (RAI) revealed details Nov. 12 about its project to build a railway connecting Iran’s Shalamcheh border crossing to the port of Basra in southeast Iraq.

Maziar Yazdani, RAI’s deputy head of infrastructure and technical affairs, said the Shalamcheh-Basra leg of the project will require only 20 miles of new track at a cost of about $52,000. With the new addition, the rail system will span Iraq to reach Syria’s Mediterranean port city of Latakia.

Click here to read the full story.

(Picture Credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By John Lee.

Gas exports from Iran to Iraq have reportedly been interrupted as authorities in Iran repair pipeline damage caused during a recent earthquake.

The gas is used for electricity generation, with the cut reducing available power by 2,500 megawatts (MW).

Supplies are expected to be restored over the coming days.

(Sources: Iraq Oil Report, Reuters)

(Picture: Iran-Iraq gas pipeline during construction. Picture credit: Shana)

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

In Iraq, tension between the US-led coalition and armed groups linked to Iran has risen in recent months.

For example, the United States sanctioned key representatives of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah on Nov. 13, saying they had moved money, acquired weapons and trained fighters in Iraq. Problems have also arisen with some factions of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).

As a whole, the PMU are part of Iraq’s security forces, but some of its dozens of factions are Shiite armed groups with ties to Iran. There has long been tension between some of the local Sunni population and those Shiite-majority PMUs from southern and central Iraq.

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(Picture Credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

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

The reimposition of US secondary sanctions has compelled Tehran to look for ways to reduce their negative impact.

According to Iranian officials, one of the strategies is to increase trade and interaction with its neighbors.

This is not new to Iran, as the country has pursued a policy of improving relations with immediate neighbors including investments in increased energy interdependency. Yet the past rationale for regional policy was more focused on security considerations.

This time, the rationale has been expanded to include trade and economic reasons. However, this strategy is facing challenges on multiple fronts, most importantly due to the existing tensions between Iran and her southern Arab region.

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(Picture Credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)