Bahram Qassemi

Tehran in final talks with Iraq on rial-based visa for Iranian pilgrims

FNA – Tehran is in the last stage of talks with Baghdad to replace dollar with Iran’s national currency, rial, when issuing visa for Iranian pilgrims who are due to visit Iraq in Arbaeen ceremony, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said.

“The negotiating sides of both countries are holding talks and consultations in this regard and the negotiations are in final phases,” Qassemi said on Wednesday.

Replacing dollar with rial to issue Iraqi visa for the Iranian pilgrims is one of the currency swap moves Iran is making to counter the US sanctions.

Qassemi said given the importance of this issue and the Iraqi side’s interest in such ties with Iran, the Iraqi government would accept the proposal to facilitate participation of the Iranian pilgrims in Arbaeen ceremony in Iraq.

During Arbaeen ceremony the 40th day after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hossein (AS), the third Shiite Imam, is commemorated. Millions of Muslims in Iraq rally from the city of Najaf to the city of Karbala to mark the Arbaeen.

In relevant remarks on Saturday, Head of the Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce Yahya Al-e Eshaq announced that the two countries had stopped using dollar in trade relations.

“Dollar-based trade between Iran and Iraq has stopped and most exchanges are made in euro, rial and dinar,” Al-e Eshaq said.

He added that another part of exchanges between the Iranian and Iraqi exporters are made in the form of barter.

Al-e Eshaq said “only a small portion of the $8bln trade between Iran and Iraq is funneled through the banking sector”.