American report: The Iraqi delegation in Washington was under “severe” pressure from the Biden administration

American report: The Iraqi delegation in Washington was under “severe” pressure from the Biden administration

2023-02-14 04:27

American report - The Iraqi delegation in Washington was under severe pressure from the Biden administrationShafaq News/ The American “Middle East Institute” stated that the administration of US President Joe Biden pressured the Iraqi delegation that visited Washington recently, in order to push Baghdad to reorient the Iraqi energy sector away from Iran, and to deal with accusations that its banking sector is helping the Iranian regime to escape sanctions western.

The American report, translated by Shafaq News Agency, indicated; That the Iraqi government is in a difficult situation economically and politically, as it is facing a reaction at home due to the sharp decline in the value of the dinar in light of the increasing restrictions by the US Federal Reserve, on dollar withdrawals from the Central Bank of Iraq.

The report explained; The Biden administration used the meeting held in Washington on February 9 on the “strategic framework agreement” with senior Iraqi officials, headed by Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, to pressure Iraq to limit its economic relations with Iran.

The report recalled Hussein’s statements, in which he said that this meeting is the first in a series of meetings that began in 2009, which this time focused on economic issues.

The report continued; Before his talks with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Hussein expressed hope that partnerships with the US government and private companies would contribute to helping Iraq develop its economy.

On the other hand, the report said that “the American side was more severe” in expressing its position, as the American secretary publicly urged Iraq to be independent in the field of electric energy, which means that the Baghdad government should find alternatives to Iranian energy imports in order to feed the energy sector. Stalled Iraqi energy.

The report pointed out that Blinken declared the United States’ readiness to support efforts between the Gulf states and Jordan to integrate Iraq into the “regional” economy.

The report indicated that Blinken’s statements came after the phone call that took place on February 2 between President Biden, the Jordanian King Abdullah II and the Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia Al-Sudani, when Biden expressed his support for joint Iraqi-Jordanian projects, including also the field of electricity transmission, and with regard to Oil pipeline (from Basra to Aqaba).

The report stated that an American delegation that visited Iraq in the past exerted the same pressure on the Iraqis to advance the implementation of these regional energy projects.

The report pointed out that, on the other hand, the most pressing issue from the Iraqi point of view was related to the measures taken by the Federal Reserve Board last November to impose restrictions on dollar transfers from the oil revenue account of the Iraqi government in New York to the Central Bank of Iraq, which are restrictions that caused In reducing dollar flows from the central bank to clients of local commercial banks who seek to transfer dollars out of Iraq, the Federal Reserve is currently scrutinizing recipients of dollar transfers to ensure that they do not violate US sanctions on Iran and Syria.

According to the report; The decline in electronic transfers from New York has caused an increase in the demand for the paper dollar and thus raised the exchange rate of the dollar inside Iraq, which resulted in an increase in the prices of imports, which sparked sharp popular resentment against the Sudanese government.

The report continued; That the head of the Central Bank of Iraq, Ali Al-Alaq, sought during his presence in Washington within the Iraqi delegation, to promote the steps taken by the bank in order to make the banking sector in his country, committed to the new procedures with regard to the movement of funds and control of dollar transfers outside Iraq.

According to the American report, the Iraqi government was betting that Fouad Hussein and Ali Al-Alaq would be able to convince the US administration to freeze the imposition of restrictions by the Federal Reserve Board on dollar transfers to Iraq, but Washington did not make such a commitment publicly.

The report concluded by pointing out that there is pressure within the US administration and from Congress to tighten restrictions on dollar flows from Iraq, which help Iran evade sanctions.

On the other hand, the report stated that Baghdad tried to remind Washington of the difficult situation of Iraq, referring in this context to a press statement by the Iraqi Foreign Minister on February 12, that Iraq would benefit from the decrease in tensions between Washington and Tehran.