Iraq is facing many problems due to the continuation of international sanctions against the Iranian government and is seeking to replace gas and electricity imported from Iran.
Energy expert Mehdi Karamipour has said that Iraq, like other countries, prefers not to get involved in Iran’s political problems, and it seeks to buy and import fuel from other vendors as much as possible.
Speaking to the state-run website Tejarat News, he said that Iraq needs the regime’s gas as the fuel for its power plants, and the regime is exporting gas to Iraq. Iraq needs the regime’s gas to be able to build new power plants. Therefore, if the regime is not able to export gas to Iraq, the regime’s share of the Iraqi electricity market will decrease.
Asked what would happen if Iran does not sell gas to Iraq, he said: If we do not sell gas to Iraq, Iraq will supply its gas from other countries, and this game is a double loss for the regime.
The former secretary of the Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce continued: ‘Of course, Iran’s removal from the Iraqi gas market is obvious, because, for political reasons, Iraq prefers to supply its fuel and goods from countries that do not have political problems.’
Due to international sanctions, the Tehran government sells its fuel and goods to its buyers at cheap and discounted prices to keep them as its customers.
About 80 percent of Tehran’s electricity exports go to Iraq, and the rest to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Yahya al-Ishaq, head of the Iran-Iraq Chamber, had previously said that Iraq’s debts to the regime are between $5 billion and $7 billion. This means that Tehran has sold the gas and electricity needed by Iraq to the country at a lower price, and now it has not been able to return a large part of these dollars to the country due to banking problems caused by international sanctions.
Economists believe that Iraq, because of its strategic ties with European countries and the United States, prefers not to buy from Iran and that this discount cannot be a substitute for trade with Iraq, as Iraq seeks to engage with countries around the world.
Recall that the US government last Saturday gave Iraq an exemption for another 120 days to buy electricity from Iran. This means that Iraq can continue to buy gas and electricity from Tehran for another four months and not be subject to US sanctions.
Under US sanctions, Iraq deposits money for gas purchased from Iran in the Commercial Bank of Iraq, and Tehran can use it to buy humanitarian goods. Although Iraq has said it can pay its debts in dinars, but Tehran wants it in US dollars, which is virtually impossible given international sanctions.
Ahmad Musa, the spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity, told Al-Youm Al-Baghdad newspaper on Sunday, November 28, that according to the agreement, Iran should have delivered 50 million cubic meters of gas per day to Iraq, but now this figure has been reduced to 8 million cubic meters.
Iraq supplies one-third of its energy needs through the purchase of electricity and gas from Iran and it is now deciding to stop this, and in addition, it is now in a position where, according to figures released by the regime’s Chamber of Commerce, China, Iran’s largest oil customer, has reduced its purchases from Iran by 99 percent.