News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqIran says earmarks $1 bln credits for Iraq projects

Iran says earmarks $1 bln credits for Iraq projects

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Reuters: Iran has earmarked $1 billion in credits for economic projects in Iraq, a senior official was quoted as saying on Tuesday, pledging support for the reconstruction of its troubled neighbour.
TEHRAN, May 1 (Reuters) – Iran has earmarked $1 billion in credits for economic projects in Iraq, a senior official was quoted as saying on Tuesday, pledging support for the reconstruction of its troubled neighbour.

Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, spoke in Iraq’s holy Shi’ite city of Najaf two days before an international meeting on Iraq in Egypt.

The May 3-4 meeting of Iraq’s neighbours and key powers including the United States is due to discuss ways to end the conflict that is threatening to tear the country apart, including a five-year plan to offer Iraq financial and political support in return for reforms.

“We … are ready to cooperate in the country’s reconstruction with all our abilities,” Larijani said.

Relations between oil-rich Iran and Iraq, both predominantly Shi’ite Muslim, have improved since the 2003 downfall of Sunni Muslim leader Saddam Hussein.

But Iran is sharply at odds with the United States over the situation in Iraq as well as Tehran’s nuclear programme. The United States accuses Iran of fomenting instability in Iraq, a charge Tehran denies.

“Today America is stuck in the problems it has created in Iraq itself and in order to find a way out of this condition it is creating new problems,” Larijani told a news conference according to IRNA.

He said Iran, which has called for U.S. forces to leave Iraq, had always stood by the Iraqi government.

“We are ready to carry out economic plans in Iraq and for this we have allocated $1 billion of credits,” Larijani said, adding this could include oil and other energy projects.

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