Washington comments on the Iraqi-Iranian “barter”: blackmailing Baghdad and our sanctions are clear

Washington comments on the Iraqi-Iranian “barter”: blackmailing Baghdad and our sanctions are clear

2023-07-13 08:06

Washington comments on the Iraqi-Iranian barter - blackmailing Baghdad and our sanctions are clearShafaq News / On Thursday, the US State Department renewed its affirmation that President Joe Biden’s administration will continue to implement all sanctions imposed on Iran, in light of Baghdad and Tehran reaching an agreement to barter Iraqi oil for Iranian gas.

An unnamed ministry spokeswoman told Al-Hurra that “the basics of our policy remain the same, which is that Iran can only access the proceeds of Iraqi energy purchases for humanitarian and other non-sanctioned transactions.”

The spokeswoman added, “The United States strongly supports Iraq’s path towards energy autonomy and the efforts made by the Iraqi government to improve basic services for the Iraqi people,” stressing that “any claim that US sanctions on Iran make Tehran limit gas supplies to Iraq is wrong.”

She indicated that there is regular consultation with the Iraqi authorities about the sanctions imposed on Iran, which are still in effect due to Iran’s ongoing nuclear activities, adding, “We seek to ensure that our sanctions on Iran do not harm Iraq.”

And the American spokeswoman noted that “Iran’s limitation of gas supplies aims to pressure and blackmail the Iraqi government and its people,” adding, “We do not have any comment at the present time on reports of a barter arrangement between Iraq and Iran.”

Last Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani announced that his country would start bartering gas imported from Iran for crude and black oil.

Iraqi power stations depend heavily on Iranian gas, but due to US sanctions on Iran, Baghdad cannot directly pay dues for importing gas from Tehran. Rather, Tehran should use that money to buy food or health commodities.

However, this mechanism is complex and often results in delays, and Iran often cuts off supplies that cover a third of Iraq’s needs, to urge Baghdad to pay its dues.

10 days ago, Iran cut its gas supplies to Iraq in half, due to 11 billion euros in receivables in the Iraqi TBI bank account, which Tehran cannot use, according to what Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani announced, in a televised speech last Tuesday.

In recent days, electricity rationing has increased in Iraq with the decline in Iranian gas supplies, at a time when temperatures in Baghdad and southern Iraq touched 50 degrees Celsius, which aroused great resentment among the population.