HAJI OMRAN, Kurdistan Region – Trade is down between the Kurdistan Region and Iran at the Parviz-Khan border crossing, while further north along the border, traders at Haji Omran are rushing goods across the frontier, concerned they will soon feel the bite of US sanctions.
“Iran has banned the export of fuel, building materials, vegetables and fruits. In the past, 700 trucks were transporting goods. But now, there are only 200,” said Hussein Ahmed, head of customs for Garmiyan.
US sanctions against Iran’s oil and shipping sectors came into force on Monday. Iraq was not given a waiver on oil trade, but was granted one for imports of other essential items.
Some 1,000 tankers of oil are exported from the Kurdistan Region to Iran every month and 500 tankers of fuel are imported.
On the border in Haji Omran, uncertainty reigns.
“We are exporting goods from Anzali port to the Kurdistan Region. We don’t know what will happen to us,” said Mohammed Zadeh, an Iranian trader.
A lot of building materials are imported into the Kurdistan Region from Iran. Some 70 percent of the products are then transported to elsewhere in Iraq. So far, this trade has not been affected.
“I am a steel, tile and cement trader. Until now, there is no problem,” said Kurdish trader Zyiad Khalid.
None of the border crossings have been closed. They remain open 24 hours a day.