Iran’s priority in Iraq must be economic cooperation

A member of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICC), Ali Shariati told ILNA on Tuesday that Iran’s priority in ties with Iraq must be the growth in bilateral trade.

Speaking to ILNA news agency, the Iranian official said “In the situation that the harsh U.S. economic sanctions have caused many problems to curtail business for Iranian exporters, economic cooperation should have our priority in Iraq along with the political and military balance.”

Commenting on the causes of the unrest in Iraq, the member of ICC Ali Shariati added that in recent months Iraqi people have taken to the streets against corruption and unemployment; but in between, campaigns have been launched against Turkish goods and, more broadly, against Iranian goods.

He stressed that Turkey has no choice but to encourage exports to Iraq due to declining tourism revenues and that’s why Ankara is looking to take over the Iraqi market.

“Iraq is an oil-rich country with a strategic position so for most countries its political future is important, and each has its own effect on this unrest,” he said.

Referring to the formation of a new government in Iraq, he stated that Baghdad has a long way to go to form a powerful government, and the United States is trying to divide Iraq into five states in order to achieve its goals.

The member of ICC pointed that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has invited Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to visit the Kingdom, adding that the invitation shows that it is very important for Saudi Arabia to be present in Iraq and not to be left behind by the regional powers.

According to reports, the volume of annual bilateral trade between Iran and Iraq stands at around USD 12 billion.

Iraqi lawmakers approved Kadhimi’s government last Wednesday. Just hours later, the United States announced it would grant a 120-day waiver for Iraq to continue importing electricity from Iran. Washington said the move was aimed at supporting the new government.


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