DUBAI (Reuters) – President Hassan Rouhani referred to as on Saturday for Iran and neighboring Iraq to develop their gasoline and electrical energy dealings and enhance bilateral commerce to $20 billion, state TV reported, regardless of difficulties attributable to U.S. sanctions in opposition to Tehran.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meets with Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi in Tehran, Iran, April 6, 2019. Official Iranian President web site/Handout through REUTERS
“The plans to export electrical energy and gasoline and hopefully oil proceed and we’re able to develop these contacts not just for the 2 nations but additionally for different nations within the area,” Rouhani stated after a gathering with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, in remarks carried by state tv.
In March, the US granted Iraq a 90-day waiver exempting it from sanctions to purchase vitality from Iran, the newest extension permitting Baghdad to maintain buying electrical energy from its neighbor.
“We hope that our plans to develop commerce quantity to $20 billion might be realized throughout the information few months or years,” Rouhani stated. Iranian media stories have put the present degree of commerce at about $12 billion.
Rouhani expressed hope that work on constructing a railway linking the 2 nations, would start throughout the subsequent few months.
The railway mission was a part of offers reached throughout Rouhani’s March go to to Baghdad, meant to underline that Tehran nonetheless performs a dominant function in Iraq regardless of U.S. efforts to isolate Iran.
Iran and Iraq fought a devastating 1980-88 battle however the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that ousted Saddam Hussein prompted an extended Sunni Islamist insurgency throughout which Iran’s regional sway rose on the expense of the US.
Iraq on Saturday closed its Sheeb border crossing with Iran to vacationers and commerce till additional discover, Iraqi safety sources stated, as flooding continues to submerge villages in southwestern Iran.
U.S President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions on Iran’s vitality exports in November, citing its nuclear program and meddling within the Center East, however has granted waivers to a number of consumers to fulfill client vitality wants.
Iraq depends closely on Iranian gasoline to feed its energy stations, importing roughly 1.5 billion normal cubic ft per day through pipelines within the south and east.
Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Modifying by Mark Potter