6 April 2017 – Kurdistan Region- Iran trade ties has decreased, official tells Kurdpress

The chief of Kurdistan Region’s ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran told Kurdpress that trade ties between the two sides have decreased from some 10 billion dollars to some 5 billion dollars.  Abdullah Akrayee stated that in the past the amount of trade ties between Iran and the Kurdish region was between 8 to 10 billion dollars while the amount in the past was 4 to 5 billion dollars between the region and the south of Iraq. However, the situation has changed and the amount of ties between Iran and the region is 4 to 5 billion dollars and that of the region with the south of Iraq is 8 to 9 billion dollars.

What follows is the official’s full interview with Kurdpress

Kurdpress: At what level are the trade and commercial ties between Iran and Kurdistan Region?

Abdullah Akrayee: As you know we have a long border with the Islamic Republic and the connection starts from Turkey’s triangle border and continues to Parviz Khan Border in Qasr-e Shirin. We have three official border pass ways of Parviz Khan, Bashmaq and Tamarchin with Iran and we are making trade in these three borders for three years. Trade and commercial actions are also conducted on unofficial borders. What was important for us was that we had good ties with Iran and it was at a high level but the amount has dwindled. The rate of our trade ties was about 8 to 10 billion dollars and the rate between the region and the south of Iran was 4 to 5 billion dollars but the situation has changed and our trade ties with Iraq have increased to 8 to 9 billion dollars while the current trade and commercial ties has decreased to 4 to 5 billion dollars and in some official border crossings like Haj Omran commercial trades have seriously decreased and the reason behind the condition is that because Iran says the commodity should not go through the border and should go, for example, from another border crossing. We have talked to Iranian officials in the customs and with governors who say that there should not be any x-ray system in Haj Omran border crossing and there are systems in Bashmaq and Parviz Khan border crossings and that’s why trade is better in those two border crossings. We have talked to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in this regard to find a good company to check the x-Ray system in order to boost trade tie in the border crossing. Trade and commercial ties are better than Bashmaq and Parviz Khan border crossings and therefore all of should try to have a better understanding in this regard. Iranian Consul in Erbil, Mr. Morteza Abadi, are trying hard in this regard and are following the issue seriously in order to increase trade ties in Haj Omran to the level of ties in Bashmaq and Parviz Khan.

Kurdpress: How good Iranian companies welcome Kurdistan Region market?

Generally the presence of Iranian companies is not at a high level in regard to the presence of Turkish companies; but there are big Iranian companies in the region and they are conducting big projects in the region and they could have more big projects if they had finished their projects, which have been level incomplete due to the economic crisis in the recent years. Iranian companies are conducting big dam and … projects but they have suspended their activities due to the economic crisis in the region. Turkish companies enjoy a better condition in comparison with Iranian companies because they showed more interest for investment in the region at the very beginning. We tried, at the time, to bring big Iranian companies to the region and invest here, but small companies came into the region and the big ones stopped short of investing here and that situation led into more economic ties between Turkish companies and the region.

Kurdpress: How do you evaluate cultural tie between Iran a Kurdistan Region?

We have a good cultural relationship with Iran as the culture of the two sides so somehow alike and both sides welcome more cultural ties. A cultural section has been established in Iran’s consulate and Iranian universities have branches in Kurdistan region and some good exhibitions have been held and music concerts and street theaters have been performed in the region by Iranian artists. We have good and suitable cultural ties.

Kurdpress: Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani was due to visit Iran. When the visit is to be conducted?

The visit will be conducted in a near future and Mr. Barzani will visit Iran. The officials of the region and Tehran will negotiate after Newruz holidays to prepare the situation for his visit. The visit has to be conducted as the president of the region has not visited Iran since 2009.

Interview: Afshin Gholami

Reporter’s code: 50101