November 12, 2018 / 08:46 AM
Iraq interest lies in having good ties with Iran: Barham Salih

Iraq’s newly elected president stressed on having “good and stable relations” with Iran and urged the United States to consider Baghdad’s political and economic position in talks about imposed sanctions on Iran.

“Iran is a neighboring country and our interest lies in having good and stable relations with Iran,” Barham Salih said in speaking to reporters during a visit to Kuwait on Sunday.
The administration of US President Donald Trump announced on November 5 the re-imposition of the “toughest” sanctions ever against Iran's banking and energy sectors with the aim of cutting off its oil sales and crucial exports. The bans had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
In a video published on its official Facebook page on Thursday, the US Embassy in Iraq said Baghdad could continue to import natural gas and other energy supplies from Iran for a period of 45 days, provided that it did not pay Iran in US dollars.
Elsewhere in his interview with reporters, Salih said, “We do not want Iraq to be burdened with the US sanctions on Iran,” urging Washington to take into account Baghdad's position as the two sides negotiated Iraq’s relief from US sanctions on Iran.
The president also emphasized that Iraq wanted to maintain "balanced" relations with all its neighbors and the international community, Press TV reported.
Iraq has extensive trade ties with Iran and depends on Iranian natural gas imports for electricity generation. In September, the southern Iraqi city of Basra was hit by violent protests, which spread to other cities, partly because of a halt to Iranian electricity exports.
Iran is currently Iraq's top trade partner, with an annual turnover standing at about $12 billion, according to Iraqi officials.
Iran and Iraq have also been exchanging oil through a swap deal under which crude from the Kirkuk field in northern Iraq is shipped by truck to Iran, which uses it in its refineries and delivers the same amount of oil to Iraq’s southern ports.
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