Minister: Iraq in debt for $2B to Iran
Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5
By Elnur Baghishov – Trend:
Currently, Iraq has a $2 billion debt for electricity and gas to Iran, Bijan Zanganeh, Iranian Oil Minister, told journalists at a press conference in Tehran, Trend reports.
According to Zanganeh, Iran is aware of the difficulties Iraq faces, yet needs its money back.
He added that Iran currently exports $200 million worth of gas per month to Iraq, but can not get the money back. Iraq states it is because of imposed sanctions on Iran.
Zanganeh said that discussions with Iraq have always been at odds. While Iran has always been insistent, Iraq has always backed up. Iran had offered Iraq a joint operation of two small fields, which Iraq refused.
"Now it is being proposed that we work the large fields with Iraq. Iran is now ahead of Iraq on the Azadegan field. In such a case, it is not logical to halt the production and initiate discussions with Iraq," he said.
The minister said that there are simpler ways to go, should Iraq want to cooperate with Iran. What needs to be taken into account is that Iraq and Iran were engaged in oil swaps, with 11,000 barrels of crude oil from Iraq’s Kirkuk being sent to Iran – which was ceased by the Iraqi side once sanctions were put into place against Iran.
"In such a case, can Iraq sell 300,000 barrels of oil to Iran?" he said.
According to Zanganeh, it is illogical for a country that has no sanctions applied against it and which has no restrictions on choosing foreign companies to partner with to face sanctions by signing a deal with Iran.