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US says it continues talks with Iraq about impact of reimposition of sanctions on Iran

Imposing new sanctions on Iranian oil industry in November
Spokesperson of US State Department Heather Nauert speaks during a press conference, October 11, 2018.
2018-10-12

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SULAIMANI — The United States and Iraq are engaged in ongoing talks about Washington's decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran, including those set to take effect in November, the State Department’s spokesperson said.

Spokesperson Heather Nauert said the US was having conversations with its partners and allies regarding the sanctions that it will reimpose on Iran and what impact they will have, so that other countires clearly understand US policy.

“We continue to have conversations with the Government of Iraq about that particular issue and the implications for the reimposition of sanctions that were previously lifted or even waived under the JCPOA,” she told a press conference on Thursday (October 11).

“… The United States is committed to re-enforcing all of our sanctions. We believe that countries coming together and recognizing the malign influence that Iran has had around the world is important.”

Nauert further said that Iran had used the benefits that it received under the 2015 Iran deal for its “own nefarious programs” instead of using them for its population.

In late August, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Baghdad would send a delegation to the United States to secure an agreement regarding financial transactions with Iran.  

“We have presented a clear vision of what Iraq really needs. This includes Iranian [natural] gas, which is very important, as well as other [areas like] trade and the electricity sector,” Abadi noted.

Iraqi officials fear that complying with all the sanctions against its neighbor will lead to shortages of key items in its shops, given the high volume of trade between the two.

Iraq imports a wide range of goods from Iran including food, agricultural products, home appliances, air conditioners, and spare car parts. Iranian exports to Iraq totaled $6 billion for the 12 months ending March 2018 and represented about 15 percent of Iraq’s total imports for 2017.

The two also had energy contracts worth approximately $12 billion last year.

US President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and reimposed trade sanctions on Tehran. The United States said there would be consequences for countries that do not respect the sanctions.

The US sanctions that came into effect in August target Iran’s trade in gold and other precious metals, its purchases of US dollars, and its car industry.

Other sanctions will come into force on November 4.

(NRT Digital Media)