Iran, Iraq Joint Cooperation Commission to be activated soon - Iranian Minister of Energy
TEHRAN, Iran, Dec. 29
Iranian Minister of Energy, traveled to Iraq as the head of a high-level delegation, to announce the Joint High Commission for Economic and Trade Cooperation between Iran and Iraq will be activated in Tehran in the coming weeks.
Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian visited Iraq on Tuesday to meet with senior officials from the country and discuss various issues including energy exports, economic relations, and Iraq’s energy debts to Iran.
"Tehran will host a meeting of the Iran-Iraq High Commission for Economic and Trade Cooperation in the coming weeks after a six-year delay,” Reza Ardakanian told reporters after a meeting with the Iraqi Minister of Commerce, Trend reports citing IRNA.
He added that a delegation from the Iraqi government will attend the summit and will hold constructive consultations with the Iranian government and private sector to further develop bilateral relations.
Speaking to reporters, the Iraqi Minister of Trade, Alla Ahmed Hassan stressed that the purpose of the visit of the Minister of Energy and the accompanying delegation was to lay the groundwork for holding the next meeting of the commission.
The Iranian minister further visited Iraq’s Central Bank to hold talks with the bank’s Governor Mustafa Ghaleb. In this meeting, the officials discussed bilateral monetary relations and cooperation in the fields of banking and finance. Settling Iraq's energy debts to Iran and establishing a payment mechanism to this end were other major issues discussed in this meeting.
Iraq owes more than $5 billion to Iran for gas imports, of which $3 billion is blocked and inaccessible in the [state-owned] Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI). The country also owes over $1 billion for electricity imports from Iran.
Iran has recently reduced its natural gas exports to Iraq and threatened further reductions due to the Arab country’s failure to pay the mentioned dues. Gas exports to the Arab neighbor have been slashed to five million cubic meters (mcm) from 50 mcm.
Iran has been exporting gas to Iraq under two supply agreements signed in 2013 and 2015.