Reza Ardakanian

Iran to use frozen funds in Iraq to buy vaccine: Energy Minister

Iran’s energy minister said he has reached an agreement with the Iraqi officials on how the Iranian funds frozen in an Iraqi bank could be used for the purchase of coronavirus vaccine from a European manufacturer.

Speaking to reporters in Baghdad on Tuesday, Reza Ardakanian said the Iraqi authorities have agreed to pay overdue debts to the National Iranian Gas Company and Iran’s state electricity company Tavanir.

Ardakanian told IRNA that Iran and Iraq had agreed on “new mechanisms” to speed up the release of Iranian funds that have been blocked in Iraq because of American sanctions.

He said as part of the new agreements, Iran’s health ministry would be able to pay for coronavirus vaccines that are planned to be purchased from a major European pharmaceutical company, Press TV reported.

The comments came a day after the NIGC said that it had significantly reduced natural gas supplies to Iraq over arrears of more than $6 billion.

During his visit to Baghdad, the Iranian energy minister held meetings with senior Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

The minister said that he had also reached agreements with the Iraqi side on the increased presence of the Iranian engineering and constructions companies in the Arab country’s electricity sector.