Abdul Mahdi visiting Iran

July 22, 2019 - 19:51

TEHRAN – The Iraqi-based Al-Forat news channel reported on Monday that Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi was scheduled to visit Tehran the same day in the evening.

The news channel quoted sources as saying that Abdul Mahdi would discuss with Iranian officials the tension between Iran and the United States and Britain.

In recent remarks, Abdul Mahdi had said that his country was seeking a détente in the crisis between the United States and Iran. He also talked about sending two Iraqi delegations to Washington and Tehran to help contain the tension, stressing that Iraq is playing only a “calm role” and not mediation.

Abdul Mahdi said at the end of May that he would visit Washington and Tehran soon to discuss the situation in the region against the background of the crisis between the United States and Iran.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have been rising over the past months as the U.S. started imposing harsh sanctions on Iran. 

In 2018, President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal and imposed a raft of severe sanctions on Iran. Trump threatened secondary sanctions against companies operating in other countries, inviting corporate leaders to “make a choice” between doing business in Iran or the U.S.

In recent weeks, Iran has begun enriching uranium to a higher degree of purity than had been agreed under the deal, while building its stockpiles of fissile material - not least because under the sanctions regime, it can’t export what it produces anyway.

The sanctions were initially going to affect Iran-Iraq trade. Baghdad, however, managed to acquire some waivers from Washington.

Against the backdrop of the waivers, the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, hosted a joint meeting of Economic Cooperation Commission with Iran on Sunday and Monday.

According to Iran's Commercial Attache to Iraq Nasser Behzad, the meeting aimed at following up agreements reached between the two neighboring countries during President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Baghdad in March, which was reciprocated by Abdul Mahdi’s trip to Tehran in April.

Among the main topics discussed at the event were the two sides’ intention to boost their annual bilateral trade to $20 billion (as agreed during Rouhani’s March visit) and facilitate commercial interactions.

The two sides also reviewed relations in the banking sector, customs affairs, joint investment, technical and engineering services, as well as transportation and transit.

SP/PA

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