Monday, 20 May 2019

Iraq PM to make first official Iran visit Saturday

Iranian Presidency – Handout | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

BAGHDAD: Iraqi premier Adel Abdel Mahdi will travel to Iran on Saturday, a member of his office said, in his first official visit to the country rivalling Washington for influence over Baghdad.

The US reimposed tough sanctions on Tehran’s energy and finance sectors last year but has granted Baghdad several exemptions to keep temporarily importing Iranian gas and electricity, crucial to Iraq’s faltering power sector.

Abdel Mahdi, 77, has repeatedly said Iraq wants good ties with both the US and Iran.

The prime minister would spend two days in the Islamic republic, a member of his office told AFP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to press.

He was expected to discuss “the issue of trade outside the framework of sanctions” in addition to “the rapprochement and the convergence of views between Iran and Arab countries”, the official said.

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