Iraq does not plan to abide by Washington’s sanctions on Iran, as Baghdad officials announce they plan to submit a waiver to the U.S. government.
The U.S. has heaped harsh economic sanctions on Iran and has managed to convince the European Union to go along with a complete ban on Iranian imported oil, measures that are already having detrimental effects on the Iranian economy.
“We have a huge relation financially between the private sectors” of “Iraq and Iran, as Iran is the main supplier for many of the foodstuff and the other commodities here in Iraq,” said Iraqi spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh.
Trade between Iraq and Iran is substantial and includes Iranian exports of electricity, fuel, food, and various commodities. Participating in U.S. sanctions on Iran would make ordinary Iraqis suffer at a time when the economy is weak and the country is unstable.
“It is not possible for Iraq to follow such sanctions,” Dabbagh said. “We are looking for our own interests. In a few days we are going to submit a request to the United States to exempt us.”
Some also point to Baghdad’s increasingly friendly ties with Tehran in recent years as the reason for Iraqi defiance of U.S. wishes, a somewhat unintended consequence of the American invasion. But Iraqi’s certainly know what it’s like to have unnecessary, crippling sanctions placed on them, as Iraq’s experience with it in the 1990’s created a humanitarian catastrophe.
Washington is imposing sanctions on Iran primarily as a political power play, since even U.S. officials widely admit there is no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program and enrichment for peaceful purposes is perfectly within their rights.
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