Iran, Iraq Stress Joint Measures to Combat Coronavirus

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Iraqi counterpart, Mohamed Ali al-Hakim, stressed the need for joint measures to combat the new coronavirus, known as COVID-19.

In a telephone conversation on Monday night, Zarif and Hakim exchanged views about a host of topics, including the latest developments in the region as well as ways to boost bilateral relations between Tehran and Baghdad.

The two sides also discussed the coronavirus epidemic and stressed the need for joint measures to contain the spread of the infectious disease.

According to Iran's Health Ministry, the death toll from the COVID-19 outbreak in Iran rose to 66 on Monday, with the confirmed cases of infection surpassing 1,500.

The ministry said out of 7,280 people who have gone to medical centers across the country so far, 4,312 are suspicious cases.

Medical staffs in 20 provinces of Iran have been working tirelessly over the past days to contain the novel coronavirus that has originated from China.

Following the increase of coronavirus increase, the Iranian government ordered the shutting of schools and universities and a ban on concerts and sports events.

Several high-ranking officials, including the deputy health minister and five lawmakers, have tested positive for the coronavirus as the spread of the outbreak forced the government to call on people to stay at home.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

4 more get Coronavirus in Iraq

By John Lee.

Iraq has reported four new cases of coronavirus (covid-19), this time in Kirkuk province.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health said the four were from the same family, and had recently returned from Iran.

They have been placed in quarantine.

According to Reuters, Iraq has indefinitely extended an entry ban on travellers from China, Iran, Thailand, South Korean, Japan, Italy and Singapore.

(Source: Ministry of Health)

Video: Iraq Bans Iran Arrivals amid Coronavirus Fears

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq is setting up quarantine areas aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus from across the border with Iran.

Neighbouring Iran has reported its sixth death from the disease.

There are fears that hundreds of thousands of Iranian visitors to holy sites in Iraq could spread the virus.

Al Jazeera‘s Rob Matheson reports from the Iraqi capital Baghdad:

Iraq “likely” to get New Waiver for Iran Gas Imports

By Bryant Harris for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq likely to continue importing Iranian natural gas under US waiver renewal

Iraqi officials have indicated that the United States is likely to renew a key Iran sanctions waiver that will allow Baghdad to continue importing Iranian natural gas to fuel its electricity needs, the AP reported.

The three-month waiver is set to expire Thursday.

Iraq relies on Iranian imports to meet the lion’s share of its electricity needs in the face of shortages that have helped provoke widespread protests in recent years.

Click here to read the full article.

(Picture credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Iran’s $1.4bn Deal for Oilfields near Iraq Border

By John Lee.

The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has agreed a $1.4-billion deal to develop two oilfields in Khuzestan, near the border with Iraq.

The National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC) and Iran’s MAPNA Group signed a ten-year contract within the IPC framework, to improve the recovery rate, increase production and exploitation of the Parsi and Paranj fields.

According to the NIOC, the deal aims to achieve a maximum production of 85000 barrels of oil per day and an additional cumulative production of about 121 million barrels, with an estimated direct capital cost of $ 876.6 million and an indirect cost of $ 235.3 million. Also the cost of exploitation is estimated at $ 269 million.

Work description of this contract includes upgrading and construction of surface installations (operation unit, desalination, gas pressure collecting and boosting facilities, gas injection facilities, flow and transmission pipelines and other related facilities), drilling of new wells and repairing existing wells, split layer operation, gas lift operation, drilling and EOR studies, piloting EOR plans, human resources training, technology transfer, and research and development.

Implementing this plan while increasing the crude oil production capacity of the country, will create widespread employment opportunities in Khuzestan province and also a favorable job market.

Parsi oil field is located in ​​South Dezful, about 125 kilometers from Ahvaz and Paranj Square is located between Karanj and Parsi fields, 75 kilometers from Behbahan and 40 kilometers from Ramhormoz.

(Source: NIOC)

Iraq may Stop Iran Gas Transfers if US Waiver Ends

By John Lee.

The head of Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) has reportedly said that the bank would stop processing payments for Iranian gas imports if a US sanctions exemption expires next month.

Faisal al-Haimus told AFP:

“As a bank, the most important thing we have is that we are compliant (with international regulations). That’s why people trust us.”

Iraq relies heavily on Iran to support its struggling electricity sector.

When the United States imposed sanctions on Iran’s energy sector in 2018, it granted Iraq a series of temporary waivers to allow it to buy gas from Iran.

More here.

(Source: AFP)

Iraq “has No Ties to Oil Tanker Seized by Iran”

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.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)