MNA – The Iraqi foreign minister says his country is “not obliged” to abide by unilateral US sanctions against Iran, adding that Baghdad is seeking ways to bypass those sanctions and continue trade with Tehran.
“These sanctions, the siege, or what is called the embargo, these are unilateral, not international. We are not obliged [to follow] them,” Mohammed Ali al-Hakim said, speaking to a gathering of journalists on Wednesday.
He said a number of “possibilities” had been suggested that could keep trade routes open with Iran, “including dealing in Iraqi dinars in bilateral trade,” and creating a fund for payments to Iran.
Following the re-imposition of unilateral sanctions on Iran in early Nov., the US gave Iraq a 45-day waiver for imports of gas from Iran, and extended the waiver for 90 days in December. Iran also provides around 40 percent of Iraq’s electricity needs.
The current level of annual bilateral trade between Iran and Iraq amounts to $12 billion, with a target to raise that figure to $20 billion in the near future.
On November 17, 2018, Iraq’s President Barham Salih visited Iran and discussed strengthening economic ties between the two countries with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.
Meanwhile, Iraqi sources have reported that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is slated for an official visit to Baghdad in January.