DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran and Iraq might elevate their annual bilateral commerce to $20 billion from the present $12 billion, President Hassan Rouhani mentioned on Saturday, regardless of considerations over the impression of renewed U.S. sanctions.
Rouhani’s remarks, after a gathering with visiting Iraqi President Barham Salih, got here two weeks after the USA restored sanctions concentrating on Iran’s oil trade in addition to its banking and transportation sectors.
“… by bilateral efforts, we are able to elevate this determine (for bilateral commerce) to $20 billion within the close to future,” Rouhani mentioned in feedback broadcast stay on state tv.
“We held talks on commerce in electrical energy, fuel, petroleum merchandise and actions … within the area of oil exploration and extraction,” Rouhani mentioned.
Baghdad is in search of U.S. approval to permit it to import Iranian fuel for its energy stations. Iraqi officers say they want extra time to seek out another supply than a 45-day waiver granted to it by the USA.
“It is going to be essential to create free commerce zones at our shared border and to attach the 2 nations’ railways,” Salih mentioned.
“We won’t neglect your help for the Iraqi individuals within the battle towards (Iraqi dictator) Saddam (Hussein). Neither can we neglect Iran’s stand within the latest battle towards terrorism,” added Salih, an Iraqi Kurd.
Salih later met Iranian supreme chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who referred to as for sustaining unity amongst ethnic and non secular teams in Iraq and resisting international interference.
“The one method to counter plots (by Iraq’s enemies) is by strengthening the unity of all Iraqi teams, together with Kurds, Arabs, Shi’ite and Sunnis,” Ayatollah Khamenei mentioned, in response to his web site.
“Some governments within the area and out of doors of it maintain a deep grudge towards Islam … and Iraq, and intrude in Iraq’s inner affairs and so they have to be strongly resisted,” he mentioned.
Iran accuses the USA and its regional rival Saudi Arabia of exploiting divisions amongst Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims. Washington and Riyadh denounce Iran as fuelling conflicts in nations together with Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.
“We search to spice up cooperation (with Iran) in any respect ranges … with the intention to serve the pursuits of each nations,” the web site quoted Salih as saying.
Iran wields extensive affect in Iraq, its smaller neighbour, the place its Revolutionary Guards performed a key function in coaching and arming the primarily Shi’ite militias that helped defeat Islamic State.
Iraq imports a variety of products from Iran, together with meals, agricultural merchandise, residence home equipment, air conditioners and automobile elements. Iranian items imports to Iraq had been price about $6 billion within the yr ending March 2018, or about 15 % of Iraq’s complete imports for 2017.
Iraqi officers informed Reuters final week that Iraq had agreed to promote foodstuffs in return for Iranian fuel and power provides. Iranian commerce officers denied that any food-for-gas scheme might be arrange as Iran was a web exporter of meals to Iraq.
“We’ve exported greater than $6 billion to Iraq prior to now seven months and we might import items for that quantity however not meals gadgets,” Yahya Al-e Eshaq, head of the Iran-Iraq chamber of commerce, was quoted as saying by the ILNA information company.
A spokesman for an affiliation of Iranian fuel and petrochemicals exporters mentioned Iraq wished to pay for the fuel imports in its dinar forex, the semi-official ISNA information company reported.
(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Enhancing by Gareth Jones and Robin Pomeroy)
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