‘Iran not to receive goods in exchange for its claims from Iraq’

March 1, 2021 - 14:54

TEHRAN- The chairman of Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce said that Iran will not import Iraqi products in exchange for its claims from that country.

Yahya Ale Eshaq said, “It should be noted that Iraq does not have goods that we want to import in exchange for our money. Therefore, we will not import goods in exchange for this money, and the money itself will probably enter the country.”

"Iran's relationship with Iraq is a strategic and developing one," he said, adding, "Our estimate is that by the end of the [current Iranian calendar] year (March 20), our exports to Iraq will reach $9.5 billion-$10 billion, up from $12 billion last year”, the official stated.

“The two sides agree to increase trade between the two countries to $20 billion over the next few years. But the circumstances that arise may change; for example, the coronavirus outbreak, have decreased the bilateral trade by 15 to 30 percent”, he added.

In mid-December 2020, Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian said that Iraq is going to open a euro bank account to pave the way for settling all the country’s gas and electricity dues to Iran.

“Based on an agreement which is going to be implemented in the coming days, Iraq is going to open a euro savings bank account in which the country’s debts to National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) and the Power Generation, Distribution, and Transmission Company (known as Tavanir) will be saved,” Ardakanian said on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting.

“Iraq's recent and past debts to our country will be transferred and saved in this account after being exchanged to euro,” the minister said.

This way, transferring the money or using it for purchasing basic goods and medicine will be less problematic considering the U.S. sanctions, he emphasized.

According to the official, the savings in this account can also be used for paying Iranian contractors and companies’ dues in the mentioned country.

Ardakanian announced the formation of a committee for working on the issue and said: "As the Iranian head of the two countries’ Joint Economic Committee, I will monitor the process on a daily basis until we achieve desirable results."

Also, during a meeting between the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) and the managing director of the Commercial Bank of Iraq on Saturday, the two sides discussed the ways for the transfer of Iran’s funds in Iraq.

Iran and Iraq have several times discussed the issue of releasing Iran’s financial resources in Iraq over the past months, based on which Iran was supposed to have access to its funds which are related to the gas export to Iraq.

MA/MA

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