Iraq: Iran’s Economic Gateway To the World

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Shammari added that “what helps Iran strongly enter the Iraqi market is that Iraq is a consumption society.”

Shammari believes that “deepening Iraqi-Iranian ties this way will inevitably cause damage to Iraq's foreign relations, particularly with the United States, which feels that Iran’s nuclear program is a threat to its interests and security.”

According to Shammari, “Iran is in dire need of Iraq, particularly at this stage; not only to market its goods, but to export them to other countries, or to facilitate the movement of Iranian funds through Baghdad to Damascus and Beirut.” He said, “Iraq is Iran’s economic outlet to the world.”

According to many Arab and Western countries, Iran has been supporting Assad’s regime by providing it with fighters, weapons and funds. The regime was trying to contain popular protests, which degenerated into an armed rebellion more than two years ago.

Iraqi economic expert Majid al-Souri believes that “that the increasing trade relations with Iran will definitely help it lift part of its blockade.” In a statement to Al-Monitor, Souri said that “the increasing pressure on Iran due to the international blockade has given Iraqi traders the chance to deal with their Iranian counterparts in cash, rather than through bank transfers, as is the customary method in cross-border trade. Therefore, the demand for the dollar has increased in Iraq.”

“The relations between traders of different nationalities are only normal, provided that they do not go beyond the limits that could affect national interests. The Iraqi government has sympathy for Iran. However, this sympathy is akin to that shown by some countries towards Iraq during the economic blockade that was imposed on it in the 1990s,” he added.

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