Iraqi PM’s office: EU ready to support Baghdad on Iran sanctions

John J. Catherine John J. Catherine 17 Nov 2018 – |ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – According to a statement issued on Friday by the Iraqi Prime Minister, the European Union’s foreign policy chief told him that the EU was willing to back Iraq on its stance on sanctions imposed on neighboring Iran by the United States.

The comments were said to have come during a phone call between Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi and Federica Mogherini, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

“Mrs. Mogherini confirmed the European Union’s readiness to support Iraq politically, financially and security-wise, as well as its support for Iraq in its stance on US sanctions against Iran and the EU’s readiness to assist Iraq in supporting the consequences of those sanctions,” read the statement, published by Abdul-Mahdi’s press office.

On Nov. 12, Iraqi President Barham Salih publicly urged the US to consider the political and economic position of Baghdad as the countries negotiate relief for Iraq from Washington’s intensified sanctions that went into effect a week earlier and which affect Iran’s energy and financial sectors.

The US has stated that Baghdad could continue to import natural gas and energy supplies from Iran for a period of 45 days, as long as Iraq does not pay Tehran for imports in US dollars.

“We do not want Iraq to be burdened with the US sanctions on Iran,” President Salih told reporters during his first tour to the Gulf countries, starting in Kuwait, mentioning that Baghdad seeks to maintain “balanced” relations with all its neighbors and the international community.

“Iran is a neighboring country and our interest lies in having good and stable relations with it,” he noted, adding the Iraqi people also wish to deepen ties with Arab and Gulf countries.

Friday’s statement continued, quoting Mogherini as saying, “The EU is following with satisfaction the prime minister’s steps in forming the government and seeking to overcome quotas in the selection of ministers,” and that Iraq, “because of its history, composition, and geography, can play an important role in building bridges of cooperation in the region as a whole.”