Iraq: Iran’s Economic Gateway To the World

By Omar al-Shaher for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The Trade Promotion Organization of Iran (TPOI) said on Monday, June 24, 2013, that 72% of Iran’s exports go to Iraq, and revealed that Iraq’s imported goods from Iran increased by nearly 15% this year.

The Iranian Fars News Agency quoted TPOI deputy Kiumars Fathallah Kermanshahi as saying that “Iraq receives 72% of the total volume of Iran’s foreign trade, and is ranked first as the biggest importer of Iranian goods.”

For years, the UN and Western countries have imposed a series of sanctions against Iran, which is accused of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, under cover of an alleged civil program. Yet, Tehran denies these accusations.

In the most recent round of sanctions against Tehran, US media quoted on Wednesday, June 26, White House spokesman Jay Carney as saying that US President Barack Obama gave the green light to the imposition of sanctions on foreign institutions that purchase or sell significant amounts in Iranian rials, and those who hold amounts in rials in bank accounts outside Iran.

The Iranian rial fell to its lowest level because of international sanctions. The new set of US sanctions included Iran’s automotive manufacturing sector. Iraq is the largest external market for Iranian cars.

Iraqi political analyst Ihsan al-Shammari said, “Iran is convinced that Iraq is currently its only economic lung, and it is normal that Iraq receives the majority of Iranian exports.”

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