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Iran to keep up energy export to Iraq despite banking issues: Businessman

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran will continue its energy exports to Iraq despite problems accessing its money in the Arab country.

A major Iranian businessman says energy exports to Iraq will continue despite problems for Iran to receive its money back from the Arab country mainly because of the American sanctions.

Hamid Hosseini, a major Iranian exporter involved in trade with Iraq, told the semi-official ILNA news agency on Saturday that Iran may decide to use the money accrued in Iraq for its energy exports to buy products and goods from the Arab country.

“The money for our electricity and gas exports is deposited in an account in the Trade Bank of Iraq,” said Hosseini, adding, “We managed to withdraw part of the money last year and the rest is still in that account.”

The businessman said, however, that banking problems would not cause a halt to exports of electricity and natural gas to Iraq, at least for the time being.

He put the current amount of electricity exports to Iraq at 1,500 megawatts per day. One megawatt can power about 1,000 homes.

Hosseini said Iran also sends around 30 million cubic meters (mcm) of natural gas to Iraq each day to help the Arab country run its power plants.

Iran’s own consumption of natural gas normally exceeds 500 mcm in cold months of the year causing authorities to temporarily halt exports to Iraq.

Washington announced on Thursday that it would extend by another four months the sanction waivers given to Iraq for imports of energy from Iran.

That comes as US authorities have piled huge pressure on Baghdad to stop using Iranian energy supplies.

Hosseini reiterated that Iraq would have huge problems if it halts imports of the much-needed energy from Iran.

“Despite claims by the US that it would refuse to renew the permit (for Iraq) to import gas and electricity from Iran, it was forced to go for an extension because of Iraq’s needs to electricity over the summer,” he said.  

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