KRG continues oil exports, economic ties to Iran despite US sanctions: spokesperson

Recognizing historic connections between Region, Iran
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SULAIMANI — Despite the reimposition of US sanctions on Iran, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) plans to maintain its economic connections Tehran, a Kurdish official has said.

In an interview with a reporter from Jame Kurdi on February 21, KRG spokesperson Safin Dizayee said that Iran has helped the people of the Kurdistan Region for more than 40 years.

“We will respect the relationship we [currently] have, especially since it developed over many years and we will never abandon it,” Dizayee said.

He added the Kurdistan Region and Iran have common economic, cultural, security, political, and social interests.

“We cannot abandon our historic connection just because of a political decision,” Jame Kurd cited the KRG spokesman as saying in reference to the reimposition of US sanctions on Iran.

Dizayee also said that the KRG intended to honor existing contracts, but warned that matters were not entirely up to Erbil either.

The Kurdistan Region is part of Iraq, Dizayee said, so “any decision from the central government would also affect the KRG.”

“As far as I am aware, there are talks between the government in Baghdad and the Americans regarding the sanctions on Iran, but that no decision has been made by the central government.”

Oil exports from the Kurdistan Region to Iran resumed on Saturday after a ten day suspension.

NRT Digital Media has obtained a copy of a letter from the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Natural Resources Ministry dated February 20 that says that an earlier halt of exports did not apply to “companies and refineries situated in the Region that have deals with the Kurdistan Region through official licenses.”

Nor does the order include the oil from central and southern Iraq that have official licenses to export oil to Iran through the Region.

As recently as early January, Kurdish officials were saying that the oil trade between the Kurdistan Region and Iran would continue, saying that relations between the Region and its neighbors were more important that what Washington wanted.

“Neighboring countries are more important for Kurds,” KRG Representative to Iran Nazim Dabagh told Voice of America on January 7.

(NRT Digital Media)