Iran inks 2-year agreement for exporting electricity to Iraq

June 5, 2020 - 14:18

TEHRAN – Iran has signed an agreement with Iraq for exporting electricity to the country for two years, Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian, who visited the Arab neighbor on Wednesday, said.

Heading a delegation of electricity experts, Ardakanian arrived in Baghdad, capital of Iraq, on Wednesday, and met with his Iraqi counterpart and some other senior officials of this neighboring country.

During his daylong visit, the minister held talks with Iraqi President Barham Salih, the country’s Energy Minister Majid Mahdi Hantoush, as well as Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kazemi, Ali Abdul Amir Alavi, Iraq's minister of finance, and heads of central bank and Trade Bank of Iraq.

According to the minister, the electricity export contract that used to be a one-year agreement was extended during the current year to cover 2020 and 2021.

During the meeting with Hantoush, which was also attended by officials from the two sides’ electricity sectors, the Iraqi minister expressed gratitude for Iran’s energy exports and cooperation in reconstructing the country’s electricity sector.

Mentioning his country’s electricity dues to Iran, Hantoush noted that the issue is currently being discussed and under consideration by the country’s finance ministry.

The official put his country’s electricity imports from Iran at 1200 megawatts (MW) and expressed hope that the figure wouldn’t decline during the summer peak consumption period.

According to Ardakanian, with the coordination of the Iranian embassy in Iraq, half of the country’s electricity due payments worth $400 million was received during the Energy Minister’s trip.

In the meeting, the two sides reviewed previous agreements and discussed a three-year plan for reconstructing the Iraqi electricity industry by the Iranian private sector.

Iraqi president calls for expansion of ties

During his one-day visit to Iraq, Ardakanian also met and held talks with Iraqi President Barham Salih in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, in which the two sides exchanged views on broadening bilateral ties especially in the field of energy and electricity.

As IRNA reported, during the meeting, the Iraqi president stressed the need for joint coordination and the development of bilateral cooperation, especially in the electricity and water sectors, in line with the progress and prosperity of the two neighboring nations.

Ardakanian for his part stressed Iran’s readiness for continuous cooperation and support for Iraq in all areas.

Developing bilateral cooperation between Tehran and Baghdad in the field of electricity, synchronizing the two countries' power grids, cooperating in the field of training, and developing power networks were of the main topics of discussion between the officials.

Iraq willing to expand all-out relations with neighbors

Ardakanian also held talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, after which the Prime Minister’s office released a statement saying that in his meeting with Ardakanian, al-Kadhimi stressed Baghdad’s willingness to develop the best of relations with its neighbors.

The two sides exchanged views on cooperation opportunities in the energy sector and boosting bilateral ties between the two neighboring states, according to the statement.

Kadhimi also underlined the need for maximum efforts to resolve complicated problems gripping the region.

Iraq and Iran share a 1,400-kilometer-long border. Except for gas and power, Iraq depends on Iran for supplying almost everything from food, fruits, and vegetables to machinery and home appliances.

Iranian energy accounts for between 30 and 40 percent of the electricity consumed in Iraq.

Over the past months, Washington has been pressing Baghdad to stop buying natural gas and electricity from Tehran as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign aimed at choking off Iran’s revenue.

Last month, Iraq’s former electricity minister Luay al-Khateeb said Iran will remain a key source of energy to the Arab country for years to come until suitable alternatives materialize.

EF/MA

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