0234 GMT November 28, 2020
Governor of Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Abdolnaser Hemmati said that he has reached an agreement with officials of Iraq’s Central Bank and the Trade Bank of Iraq on the release of Iran’s financial assets to buy essential goods for the country.
He made the remarks following talks with Governor of Iraq's Central Bank Mustafa Ghalib Mukheef and Chief of the Trade Bank of Iraq Salem Jawad Abdul Hadi al-Jalabi in Iraq’s capital on Monday, IRNA reported.
Hemmati noted that Iran has significant financial resources in Iraqi banks. The financial resources are Iran’s revenues derived from the export of electricity and gas to the neighboring country.
Referring to its positive consultation with Iraqi officials, he expressed hope that the agreement would help both countries take positive steps toward developing economic and banking relations.
Hemmati added that Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, with whom the Iranian official also held talks, has promised to follow up the implementation of the agreement.
The visit by the head of CBI to Iraq is his second trip to the Arab country in nearly five months.
In June, the Iranian official paid a visit to Baghdad, during which both countries agreed to introduce schemes that could accelerate settlement of payments related to the supply of basic goods to Iran.
“Based on previous agreement ... it had been expected that we use the resources we have in Iraq for purchase of non-sanction and basic goods,” said Hemmati in June.
Monday’s agreement came despite growing American pressure on Iraq to stop settling payments related to imports from Iran, according to Press TV.
Iran is a main supplier of energy to Iraq as it provides the Arab country with a bulk of electricity needs as well as the natural gas consumed in power plants in Iraq.
Gas imports from Iran generate as much as 45 percent of Iraq's 14,000 megawatts of electricity consumed daily. Iran transmits another 1,000 megawatts directly, making itself an indispensable energy source for its Arab neighbor.
Iraq and Iran share a 1,400-kilometer-long border. For their run-of-the-mill maintenance, Iraqis depend on Iranian companies for many things from food to machinery, electricity, natural gas, fruits and vegetables.
The Trump administration is pressing Iraq to stop buying natural gas and electricity from Iran.