'In another blow to US control over Iraq, the country’s foreign minister warned that Baghdad would ignore US sanctions on Iran. Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali al-Hakim laid out the latest step on the path to independence for Baghdad from the US concerning sanctions on Iran by Washington. Although Iraq currently has a 90-day waiver to trade with Iran issued on December 20th, Hakim let reporters know Iraq would be pursuing their own policy on Iran should the waiver not be renewed.
Hakim explained to reporters that “These sanctions, the siege, or what is called the embargo,” imposed by the US is “unilateral, not international,” and Iraq is “not obliged [to follow] them.”
This is a big step for Baghdad to take in the face of pressure from Washington for Iraq to become “energy independent” with the help of US corporations exploiting their oil and gas resources. Instead, as explained by Hakim, Iraq would rather choose their own options for energy, even if that includes continuing the annual $12 billion in trade between Iraq and Iran flowing over US objections.
There are also discussions ongoing concerning increasing the amount of trade between Baghdad and Tehran despite US pressure. Iraqi President Barham Salih and his Iranian President Hassan Rouhani even doubled down on this during a recent meeting where Rouhani said that Tehran was willing to increase trade with Baghdad from the $12 billion a year mark to $20 billion.
Hakim assured reporters Iraq is already thinking of “solutions” to counteract any US threats to increased trade with Iran. According to Hakim, there are multiple options open to Baghdad “including dealing in Iraqi dinars in bilateral trade” as opposed to US dollars.'
Read more: Iraq Vows to Buck US Sanctions on Iran and End US Troop Presence
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