Wednesday, 16 October, 2019

Tehran ‘cancels’ visit by Iraq’s PM after remarks on USA sanctions

Tehran ‘cancels’ visit by Iraq’s PM after remarks on USA sanctions Tehran ‘cancels’ visit by Iraq’s PM after remarks on USA sanctions
Patty Aguilar | 16 August, 2018, 11:09

An Iranian government official on Sunday tried to play down the effect of the sanctions and said Abadi's visit to Iran had been cancelled by Tehran.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

President Trump Tweeted: "Anyone doing business with Iran will not be doing business with the United States".

Washington says the renewed sanctions are meant to pressure Tehran to halt its alleged support for global terrorism, its military activity in the Middle East and its ballistic missile programmes.

"Our economic situation is also hard and we sympathise with Iran", said Abadi, who was appointed prime minister in 2014 with Western backing and by consensus between the leading factions in Iraqi politics.

"Some people want to put pressure on us to place the interests of gangs ahead of those of the Iraqi people", he told a news conference.

"I have not received any prior notification or witnessed an official announcement on the visit" said Ghasemi.

Last week he said Iraq disagreed with the US sanctions on Iran but would abide by them to safeguard its own interests, triggering criticisms from Iran-allied Iraqi politicians and in the Islamic Republic.

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"I described the case, condemned the USA sanctions on Iran, and said the sanctions are unjust and we do not sympathize with them".

Conflicting reports emerged on Monday around a potential visit by Mr Abadi to Iran.

"It's a disloyal attitude towards the honest position of Iran and the blood of the martyrs this country has spilt to defend the land of Iraq" against jihadists, said Moujtaba al-Hussein. "In general, sanctions are unjust".

"Iran's strategic objective in Iraq doesn't change, they want an Iraqi government that is mindful of the fact that they have to walk a tight rope in balancing multiple factions, the Kurds, the Sunnis".

Iraq is the second-largest importer of Iranian-made non-hydrocarbon products, buying approximately $6 billion (Dh22.04bn) worth of goods in 2017.

Iraqi provinces bordering Iran depend heavily on the Islamic Republic for their electricity supply.

Yet, Washington began restoring sanctions, which had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, on Iran last week.

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