A senior businessman who coordinates trade between Iran and Iraq says that Baghdad has returned part of the Iranian funds that have been blocked in the Arab country in recent years because of American sanctions on Tehran.
Yahya Al Es’haq said on Monday that Iran has been happy with the pace Iraq has been repatriating funds it owes Tehran for energy imports.
Speaking to ILNA news agency, Al Es’haq did not elaborate on any figures but said that Iraq had repatriated part of the nearly $5 billion in blocked Iranian funds in cash.
“Iran is satisfied with the process of releasing the blocked funds in Iraq,” said the businessman who chairs the Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce.
He said that the funds that have remained frozen in an account in the Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) have also been used for barter payments to Iran.
Iran and Iraq have been holding regular meetings over the past year to find a solution on the issue of Iraqi energy arrears.
Little information has been released from those meetings and if there has been any concrete agreement about the issue.
Iran decided to slash its supply of natural gas to Iraq last year as authorities said that energy arrears and fines that could accrue had accumulated to more than $6 billion.
Al Es’haq said that Iran's gas and electricity exports to Iraq have continued normally in recent months.
He said that the two neighbors and their businesses have had no problem settling payments related to non-energy trade.
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