Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi (R) meets with head of Iran’s Central Bank Abdul Naser Hemmati. Photo: PM office
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq will not participate in sanctions against Iran, Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said on Wednesday.
He made the comment in a meeting with the head of Iran’s Central Bank, Abdul Naser Hemmati, who is in Baghdad as Tehran continues to look for ways to beat US sanctions.
The prime minister pointed out that Iraqis can empathize with other nations experiencing sanctions.
The Iraqi people have “suffered from embargo and realize the damage that peoples incur from its consequences,” he told Hemmati, according to a statement from his office.
As such, “Iraq won’t be part of the sanctions system against Iran or any other people,” he said.
US sanctions came into force last year, but Iraq was granted a temporary waiver so it could continue to import natural gas and electricity from its neighbour while looking for an alternative energy source – something Iraqi officials have said will be impossible.
Iraq's Electricity Minister Luay al-Khatteeb is currently in Iran.
Baghdad has repeatedly said it values friendly relations with all countries and will not permit Iraq to become a battleground for a dispute between the US and Iran.
During Hemmati's visit, the heads of the Central Banks struck a deal that will permit Iranian exporters to use Iraqi banks.
Under the deal signed by Hemmati and his Iraqi counterpart Ali al-Aalaq, Iranian banks will be permitted to open dinar accounts in Iraqi banks, thereby allowing Iranian exporters to conduct business using the Iraqi banks, Iran’s IRNA news reported.
Iraq and Iran share a nearly 1,500 kilometre long border and annually do about $12 billion in trade.