Shia leader urges US to exempt Iraq from Iran sanctions

By Ibrahim Saleh

BAGHDAD (AA) – Ammar al-Hakim, leader of the National Wisdom Movement (a component of Iraq’s ruling parliamentary majority), has urged the U.S. to exempt Iraq from trade sanctions recently re-imposed on neighboring Iran.

“U.S. sanctions on Iran will have serious repercussions on income-dependent economies like that of Iraq,” al-Hakim warned.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has been criticized recently — by both by Iranian officials and Shia political blocs in Iraq — for his readiness to comply with the raft of U.S. sanctions re-imposed on Tehran.

Last week, al-Abadi announced that his government would not carry out dollar-dominated transactions with Iran — in line with the sanctions — while refraining from implementing the full raft of American penalties.

The U.S. recently re-imposed a first round of economic sanctions on Iran, which primarily target the country’s banking sector.

The sanctions are intended to hinder Tehran's acquisition of U.S. currency; its precious metals trade; bank transactions denominated in Iranian currency; activities related to Iran's sovereign debt; and the country’s automotive sector.

Baghdad’s full compliance with the U.S. sanctions, however, could lead to shortages of basic goods, many of which are imported from Iran.

Last year, the total annual trade volume between Iraq and Iran stood at some $12 million.

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