Iraq vows to pay debts to Iran for imported energy

July 4, 2021 - 21:12

TEHRAN — The Iraqi prime minister, while emphasizing Iraq's commitments to pay its debts for the import of electricity and gas from Iran, stated that Iran has not failed to export electricity and gas to Iraq.

"Tehran has not neglected to export electricity and gas to Iraq,” Mustafa Al-Kadhimi made the remarks in an emergency meeting with governors in which members of the Electricity Crisis Resolution Committee were also present, Al-Manar and Baghdad Al-Youm (Baghdad Today).

Strangely, 61 power grids have exploded in Iraq, resulting into 18 deaths. Al-Kadhimi says targeting power grids is not normal. 

"We have seen power outages in recent days," he said. 

He added, “Who is targeting the power grid? Why is it being targeted? As soon as the investigation is completed, we will answer the questions: Why are the saboteurs targeting the electricity transmission network? Is this sabotage operation against the energy transmission network politically motivated or an act of terrorism?”

The prime minister said he has inherited the current situation.

"The government is paying the price for wrong policies and patchwork and waste of public funds during the last 17 years in all fields, especially in the field of energy," he added.
The prime minister said speaking to the public and transparency is a historical and moral responsibility.

"We must speak to the people openly, especially after successive governments have not spoken to the people out of fear of public outrage. The fact is that everyone, including governments and politicians, has this accountability," he remarked. 

Iran has not neglected exporting electricity

"What is the reason for not connecting power lines with neighboring countries as well as the world over the last 17 years?" he asked. 

Al-Kadhimi said that Iraq is only connected to the electricity grid of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which does not fail to transfer electricity to Iraq based on its ability, and is also committed to the Iraqi people. 

"There is also a case of electricity import debts from Tehran and the U.S. sanctions. We are serious about this issue and the payment of all Iraqi debts to Iran for the import of gas and electricity in the past years, and we will make progress in this regard," the prime minister highlighted.

Iran continues to export gas to Iraq

"In the gas case, the Iraqi gas network is connected to Iran, and despite the difficulties in receiving their demands due to sanctions, they have not stopped and continue to export gas to Iraq. We need more time to find resources," he said. 

He added that Iraq is looking to replace gas from other countries.

Problem solving is time-consuming

Al-Kadhimi added, "Why the Iraqi government should be deprived of satisfying the pressing needs of its own people? From a year ago until today, we have made decisions to connect the Iraqi electricity system to all neighboring countries. This requires time and patience to complete so that we can meet the challenges." 

The prime minister added that under natural circumstances, the electricity grid is supposed to be connected to the neighboring countries, but Iraq puts forward the question of who decided to isolate Iraq and prevent the connection of the power lines with other countries?

Why not work on solar or nuclear energy?

On the issue of a possible cooperation with France to develop Iraq's nuclear energy, Al-Kadhimi said, "Policy-makers in every country formulate a strategy based on their future capabilities and plans, so why in the last 17 years have we built dozens of gas-fired power plants to generate electricity while we do not have the capacity to supply gas or a plan to produce gas or diversify gas import sources if needed? Who is responsible for such a big mistake? Why did we fail to focus on solar or even nuclear energy?" 

"A few months ago, I talked to the French officials regarding a nuclear power project in Iraq," he added. 

The top Iraqi official said that the world community, including France, have a good grasp but there are obstacles that Iraq must thrive to overcome. 
“Over the last year, my administration has done everything it should have done," he added.

We need 2 to 3 years

“Iraq has a long delay in gas production and we need to start producing gas immediately, and we did that, but we need 2 to 3 years to start gas production and cover most of the needs of our power plants," Al-Kadhimi said.

He reiterated, "All the necessary measures to solve the electricity problem in Iraq will take several years. If we had invested in solar energy or gas production or non-gas power plants, we would not have electricity problems now and instead of importing, we would export gas. Had we invested in connecting the electricity network to our whole neighboring countries, now we could have overcome the emergency crises, especially in the summer."