Iraq rebuffs U.S. demands to stop buying energy from Iran

February 11, 2019

Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbusi has reiterated his country’s opposition to sanctions imposed by the United States against Iran.

During a meeting with Iranian Ambassador to Baghdad Iraj Masjedi on Saturday, Halbusi said Iraq had to meet its energy needs by importing gas and electricity from Iran but the U.S. sanctions had created problems in this regard, according to the New York Times.

Iran on Friday signed an agreement to extend exports of 1,200 megawatts of electricity to neighboring Iraq.

The deal was inked by the managing director of Iran’s state-run Organization for Management of Electric Power Generation and Transmission (Tavanir), Mohammad Hassan Motevalizadeh, and the Iraqi deputy electricity minister in Tehran.

Iraq is the biggest importer of electricity from Iran. It needs more than 23,000 megawatts of electricity to meet its domestic demand but years of war following the 2003 U.S. invasion have left its power infrastructure in tatters and a deficit of some 7,000 megawatts.

The top Iraqi parliamentarian further said that Iran and Iraq had played a leading role in promoting stability and security in the region.

Halbusi lauded Iran’s key and unforgettable role in helping Iraq fight against terrorism and expressed hope that Tehran would continue its support for Baghdad in the reconstruction plan of the war-stricken country.

He said the Iraqi government and parliament attached importance to strengthening relations with Iran in various fields.

The Iranian ambassador, for his part, said the “cruel” U.S. sanctions had definitely created problems, but the Islamic Republic managed to make great achievements in defensive, scientific and economic sectors by relying on domestic resources.

Masjedi commended Iraq’s firm stance on Washington’s unilateral sanctions against Iran.

He expressed hope that Tehran and Baghdad would further develop cooperation in all areas and voiced the Islamic Republic’s readiness to help Iraq in its reconstruction projects.

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