Iraq urges U.S. to consider its position in talks on Iran sanctions

Barham Salih stands during a handover ceremony at Salam Palace in Baghdad, Iraq October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani/File Photo

KUWAIT (Reuters) – Iraq’s president on Sunday urged the United States to consider Baghdad’s political and economic position as the countries negotiate on relief for Iraq from Washington’s reimposed sanctions against Iran.

The United States said on Friday Iraq can continue to import natural gas and energy supplies from Iran for a period of 45 days, so long as Iraq does not pay Iran for imports in U.S. dollars. Sanctions on Tehran’s oil sector took effect on Nov 5.

“We do not want Iraq to be burdened with the U.S. sanctions on Iran,” Barham Salih, the newly elected President, told reporters during a visit to the Gulf Arab state of Kuwait.

Iraq wanted to maintain “balanced” relations with all its neighbours and the international community, he said.

“Iran is a neighbouring country and our interest lies in having good and stable relations with Iran,” he said, adding the Iraqi people also wanted to deepen Arab and Gulf ties.

Iraq needs to rebuild its economy and infrastructure as it emerges from a ruinous conflict with Islamic State.

Iraq central bank officials said in August that the country’s economy is closely linked to non-Arab Iran, which is locked in several proxy wars with Saudi Arabia in the region.

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