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Iran rejects Iraq’s criticism about slashed natural gas supplies

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)
An Iranian gas company official says Iraq’s criticism about slashed gas supplies is unjustifiable.

Iran has rejected Iraqi electricity ministry’s criticism of Tehran’s decision to significantly reduce natural gas supplies to the Arab country, saying they are not simply acceptable.

A senior official from the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) said on Wednesday that Iraq was in nearly $6 billion of arrears for its previous energy imports from Iran.

Mehran Amir Moeini said that only $3 billion worth of the arrears had been paid into an account in the Trade Bank if Iraq where Iran has practically no access to the funds because of the American sanctions.

The official said, however, that the Iraqi electricity ministry had also failed to pay around $2 billion from matured debts on electricity and gas imports from Iran while another $1 billion was due because of unfulfilled contractual obligations.

“This is a bilateral contract and both sides are supposed to commit to its terms. Iraq is not entitled to any right for criticism because its payments have not been made on a regular basis. Thus, Iran’s decision to cut exports is neither illogical nor illegal,” Amir Moeini was quoted as saying by the semi-official ILNA news agency.

The remarks came hours after Iraq’s electricity ministry said that the Arab country was facing a risk of serious power shortages after Iran reduced its gas supplies to the central and southern regions of the country from 49 million to 8 million cubic meters per day.

A statement by the ministry said it had been in contacts with the Iranian embassy in Baghdad as well as with the Iranian energy ministry to clarify the issue.

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