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Iran’s export to Iraq growing compared to early pandemic months: 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)
File photo shows trucks waiting at a crossing on the Iran-Iraq border to carry Iranian goods into Iraq.

A major Iranian businessman in charge of coordinating trade between Iran and Iraq says Iran’s exports to the Arab country are growing compared to initial months of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the Middle East beginning late February.

However, Seyyed Hamid Hosseini said on Sunday that exports to Iraq had fallen by almost a third when calculated against a monthly average seen in 2019.

“The monthly average (value) of exports to Iraq over the past year was $750 million which is more than the average this year of $500 million,” said Hosseini, who is a senior member of Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce.

Hosseini further said that current monthly value of exports shows a 30-percent increase compared to initial months of the current calendar year in Iran when borders to neighboring countries were closed to curb the spread of the pandemic.

The $500-millon mark reached over July-August was a record this year, as claimed by the businessman who added that total exports between March 20 and August 21 had exceeded $2.44 billion.

“Every day around 3,000 cargo trucks are transferring Iranian exports goods to Iraq and thus exports to this country is flowing on full capacity,” he told the semi-official Fars news agency.

Iran relies on Iraq as a major customer for selling goods and services at a time the country’s normal exports of crude oil have been hampered by American sanctions.

Official figures published on Saturday by Iran’s customs office (IRICA) showed that exports to Iraq in the fifth calendar month of Mordad (July22-August21) had reached $441 million in value terms, making the country only second to China in the list of Iran’s main export destinations over the monthly period.

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