Iran and Iraq signed five deals to promote cooperation in various fields on the first day of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s trip to Baghdad.

In a meeting co-chaired by Rouhani and Prime Minister of Iraq Adil Abdul-Mahdi in Baghdad on Monday evening, top officials from the two countries signed five memoranda of understanding.

The documents entail cooperation between Iran and Iraq concerning the Basra-Shalamcheh railroad project, visa facilitation for investors, cooperation in the health sector, and agreements between the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade of Iran and Ministry of Trade of Iraq, and another one in the field of oil between the petroleum ministries of the two countries.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Rouhani arrived in Baghdad on Monday at the official invitation of the Iraqi government. It is Rouhani’s first official visit to Iraq during his tenure.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Iran and Iraq signed five deals to promote cooperation in various fields on the first day of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s trip to Baghdad.

In a meeting co-chaired by Rouhani and Prime Minister of Iraq Adil Abdul-Mahdi in Baghdad on Monday evening, top officials from the two countries signed five memoranda of understanding.

The documents entail cooperation between Iran and Iraq concerning the Basra-Shalamcheh railroad project, visa facilitation for investors, cooperation in the health sector, and agreements between the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade of Iran and Ministry of Trade of Iraq, and another one in the field of oil between the petroleum ministries of the two countries.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Rouhani arrived in Baghdad on Monday at the official invitation of the Iraqi government. It is Rouhani’s first official visit to Iraq during his tenure.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

The president of Iran voiced the country’s readiness to expand trade ties with Iraq and increase exports to the neighboring state.

“We are ready to have our tradespeople more active in Iraq and supply the required goods so that we can reach a good balance,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said at the Economic-Trade Forum of Iran and Iraq in Baghdad on Monday, his website reported.

Extensive economic and trade cooperation between Iran and Iraq would benefit the both nations and the region, the president stressed, adding, “The two Iranian and Iraqi nations have always been together in recent years in creating security and stability.”

“The Iranian nation and government are very happy that they have been alongside the Iraqi nation and army from the beginning in their fight against terrorism,” Rouhani noted.

Referring to the achievement of stability and security in Iraq, Rouhani said, “Iranian economic and trade executives have stood by the Iraqi nation even when the country was insecure.”

As regards the agreement reached during his meeting with Iraqi official, Rouhani said, “It was also decided that visas still remain in place, but the fees were decided to be removed and visas be issued free of charge.”

“Iran is ready to develop relations in different fields such as energy, and supplying power and gas to Iraq,” he emphasized.

Stressing that Iran is determined to increase trade relations with Iraq to $20 billion from $12 billion, Rouhani said, “Facilitating banking relations can create a historic opportunity for the two nations.”

“Today, we are witnessing the closest relations between the two countries… This historic opportunity can be a turning point in the relations between the two countries,” he concluded.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Rouhani arrived in Baghdad on Monday at the official invitation of the Iraqi government. It is Rouhani’s first official visit to Iraq during his tenure.

(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.

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.

Click here to read the full story.

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)

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:

By John Lee.

Iran‘s President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Iraq on Monday as the head of a high-ranking political and economic delegation at the official invitation of the President and Prime Minister of Iraq.

Barham Salih, President of Iraq, officially welcomed President Rouhani at Baghdad’s as-Salam Palace.

Dr Rouhani will have meetings with the President and Prime Minister of Iraq on deepening bilateral and regional cooperation.

He will also have a meeting with Grand Ayatollah Sistani and make pilgrimage to the holy shrines.

(Source: Office of the President of Iran)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will travel to Iraq on March 11 for an official visit.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, the Iranian president will be visiting the Arab country at the official invitation of Baghdad.

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

On Monday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi met with Prime Minister of Iraq Adil Abdul-Mahdi in Baghdad to make arrangements for Rouhani’s forthcoming trip.

The Iranian president’s visit would come against the backdrop of Tehran’s efforts to boost its foreign trade in the US sanctions era.

Iraq’s foreign minister said recently that his country is “not obliged” to abide by sanctions imposed by the US against Iran and would be pursuing options to continue bilateral trade.

President of Iraq Barham Salih paid a visit to Tehran in November 2018 with a ranking delegation for a series of political and economic talks.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart at that time, Rouhani said the value of trade and economic interaction between Tehran and Baghdad stood at around $12 billion, adding that the two neighbors have the potential for a $20-billion trade target.

Earlier this month, 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.

According to governor of the Central Bank of Iran Abdolnaser Hemmati, Iran is going to open euro and dinar-based accounts to process transactions for trade in oil and gas.

Describing Iraq as Iran’s major partner, Hemmati said the two countries have agreed to make the banking ties much stronger.

He also stated that Iraqi companies can reciprocally open accounts in Iranian banks and conduct transactions in dinar.

In December 2018, Chairman of Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce Yahya Ale-Eshaq said the central banks of Iran and Iraq were finalizing negotiations to begin trade in their own currencies.

Iraq’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim has made it clear that his country cannot cut off trade ties with Iran under the US sanctions.

(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.

Iran questions Iraq’s promise to import oil despite sanctions

Iran and Iraq have quite different views of their relationship status, with Tehran claiming it’s been jilted and Baghdad declaring it’s being faithful.

Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh (pictured) surprised Iraqi officials Feb. 7 when he very publicly expressed dissatisfaction with Iraq “reversing some oil agreements, and refusing to invest in the border oil fields and to pay Iran its [$2 billion in] debts.”

He indicated that “Baghdad’s commitment to the US sanctions has prompted [Iraq] to revoke minor agreements, such as the Kirkuk deal, under which we traded 11,000 barrels of oil a day.”

Iraq ended that deal in November under US pressure. The United States has imposed sanctions on Tehran and countries that defy those sanctions by continuing to do business with Iran.

Zangeneh’s remarks contradict the outcome of his meeting in Baghdad with Iraqi Oil Minister Thamir Ghadhban last month, when they agreed that Iraq would import gas from Iran and develop some border fields.

Click here to read the full story.

Head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) Ali Asghar Mounesan said removing visa restrictions on travels between Iran and Iraq could serve the interests of both nations.

Speaking at a meeting with Iraq’s Culture and Tourism Minister Abdul Amir al-Hamdani, Mounesan, also a vice-president, praised bilateral relations between Tehran and Baghdad as “brotherly and very cordial” and said the two countries enjoy good ties in all economic, social, and political areas.

“Each year, millions of Iranian and Iraqi tourists visit the two countries and there is a readiness to promote relations in the field of tourism,” he noted.

Referring to the abolition of the visa requirements for Iranians visiting Turkey and Oman, the official urged a similar move by Iraq and said an increase in the number of tourists from the two countries would be in the interests of both nations.

“We should make efforts to speed up this process by lifting visa requirements,” said the vice president.

Annually, millions of Muslim pilgrims, mainly from Iran, travel long routes to Iraq’s Karbala, where the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Shiite Imam, is located.

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 in the past years.

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)