The US has granted Iraq another 120-day waiver from its sanctions on Iran.
According to S&P Global, a State Department spokesman said the waiver ensures that Iraq is able to meet its short-term energy needs while it takes steps to reduce its dependence on Iranian energy imports.
Iraq’s oil ministry said on Sunday it has no connection with an oil tanker seized by Iran’s IRGC in the Persian Gulf for smuggling fuel, a report said.
“The ministry does not export diesel to the international market,” the Arab country’s oil ministry said in a statement, Iraqi News Agency reported.
Iraq’s relevant authorities are working to gather information about the seized vessel, it added.
Two Iraqi port officials said initial information obtained show that the seized ship is owned by a private shipping company which is owned by an Iraqi private trader.
In a statement on Sunday, the IRGC Navy’s Public Relations Department said that the foreign ship had been captured by the military vessels patrolling the second naval zone in the Persian Gulf as part of the operations to detect and fight against organized smuggling.
The IRGC Navy’s patrol vessels confiscated the foreign tanker that was carrying 700,000 liters of smuggled fuel in a surprise operation after coordination with judicial authorities, it added.
According to the statement, the foreign ship was seized near Farsi Island, a tiny, barren island in the Persian Gulf.
Iran’s gas and electricity exports to Iraq are reportedy expected to reach $5 billion by the end of the current Iranian calendar year, which ends on March 21, 2020.
Mehr news agency quotes the Secretary General of Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber, Seyed Hamid Hosseini, as saying that if Iraq agrees it is possible for Iran to barter the necessary goods in return for the gas and electricity, the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI)“should cooperate in this regard“.
Iran Has Taken Invaluable Steps to Cement Ties with Iraq: Envoy
Iran’s Ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi highlighted the importance of bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries and said Tehran has taken major strides to strengthen ties with Baghdad.
“We are trying to boost our relations with Iraq in all areas,” Masjedi said, addressing an appreciation ceremony for the outgoing Iranian consuls in the Iraqi cities of Sulaymaniyah and Karbala.
“The embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Baghdad, as well as the affiliated organizations and consulates and other governmental agencies of Iran in Iraq, have taken invaluable strides and actions at various political, economic and security levels to strengthen relations between the two countries in recent years,” the diplomat noted.
Masjedi further pointed to historical, cultural and ideological commonalities of the two countries and said closer ties in all fields are in line with the interests of both Iran and Iraq.
Iran and Iraq enjoy cordial political, security and cultural ties but due to some internal and regional problems including Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL) terrorism in Iraq, they have not been able to increase their trade volume.
Heading a high-ranking delegation, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif recently paid an official visit to Iraq to boost ties with the Arab country in the sanctions era.
US President Donald Trump’s administration announced plans in March to extend a 90-day waiver for the second time to let Iraq continue energy imports from Iran.
By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
After decades, Iran, Iraq ready to Dredge the Shatt al-Arab
Hope of restoring a clean water lifeline to Basra province is on the rise again with plans by the Iraqi and Iranian governments to revive the Shatt al-Arab as a source of drinking water and improve its functioning as a trade route.
By Hamdi Malik for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
ExxonMobilevacuated dozens of its non-Iraqi employees from Iraq on May 18. The evacuation follows a US State Department decision to withdraw its non-essential staff from the US Embassy in Baghdad and its consulate in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.
The US oil company relocated its employees to Dubai, where they will continue their work related to the West Qurna-1 oil field in Basra. The company announced May 31 that it will begin returning its employees from June 2 after the Iraqi government promised to increase the security measures in the site.
Contrary to recent reports that the US had granted a waiver to Iraq to allow it to continue buying power from Iran, a State Department spokeswoman reportedly said on Wednesday that this was not the case.
Reuters quotes Morgan Ortagus as telling reporters that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has not made a decision on this issue.