After meeting with his cabinet in Baghdad on August 7, 2018, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi speaks to reporters and answers some questions. Photo: GoI
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday Iraq will abide by the recent US sanctions against Iran, but also expressed his opposition to the sanctions by calling the move an “essential and strategic mistake.”
“Frankly speaking, we will not react to them. Yes we will comply with them basically because it is a greater state than us,” said Abadi during his weekly presser, adding that as premiere he has to protect the interests of his citizens.
He stressed that “in principle, we are completely against sanctions. Iraq has paid the largest amount of money for sanctions. I call it oppression … the sanctions were imposed on the former regime but affected our people … sanctions destroy communities.”
The former regime of Saddam Hussein was heavily sanctioned by the United States because of oil trade and the Kuwait invasion. The result was millions of its citizens, including Kurds, starving until France and eventually the United Nations and other countries intervened with a no-fly zone and oil-for-food programme.
Abadi noted the world deals the US dollar therefore Baghdad does not want its relations with the US harmed.
US announced a slew of sanctions on Iran targeting its trading sector on Monday, which took force on Tuesday.
Demands of protesters
Before the press conference, Abadi headed his cabinet’s meeting where a number of decisions were made regarding the demands of recent protests in Iraq.
The Council of Ministers vowed to provide services related to electricity, water, education, sanitation and other sectors. It also decided to encourage poultry investment in the country through a specified budget.
Abadi said that representatives of some provinces have visited him and conveyed their messages, adding that soon he will receive a delegation from the war-torn Nineveh province where protests did not occur.
He insisted it is very significant to gain the trust of investors so that they can invest in Iraq.
“Investment and creating of job opportunities relies on trust in the political system. If the world and even Iraqi and other businessmen see that the political process is running normally … he will have trust and then invest.”
Iraq held a parliamentary election on May 12, but is yet to announce final results or to form a new government.
Corruption across the country was one of the main subjects of Abadi’s weekly presser. He revealed that the process of fighting corruption is still under investigation.
“We have begun the process of investigation some officials including ministers, directors and others,” said the premier.
Those who will be sent to court include three ministers and 12 department directors for not adhering government standards. They'll be referred to an integrity commission.
Asked about the role of Shiite supreme leader Ayatollah Sistani, Abadi said that Sistani does not instruct him but his speeches “help us fight corruption.”