Qandil said on that Iraq dearly needs Tehran’s economic and technical support as it seeks to rebuild territories ravaged by the ISIL terrorists while insisting that US pressure would fail to break the intimate bonds between the two neighbors.
“Huge damage was inflicted on Iraq during the time of the ISIL and we need Iran’s contribution to reverse the damage.“ the ambassador added.
Qandil said US economic sanctions on Iran would be no deterrent to Iraq and its efforts to consolidate trade and business ties with its Iran. insisting the two neighboring countries were “determined to weather the crisis“.
He said Iraq’s refusal to adhere to US sanctions on Iran was meant to compensate Iran’s support for Iraq which persisted until two years ago when the Arab country purged the ISIL militants from its territories.
“As Iran was beside Iraq at the time of the ISIL insurgency. now Iraq will stand by its friendly and neighboring country during sanctions.“ said the Iraqi ambassador.
In his speech. Qandil expressed hope that the value of trade between Iraq and Iran could increase from the current level of $12 billion and reach a target of $20 billion a year.
He said that Iraqi embassy in Tehran was ready to issue free-of-charge visas. which has been in place for Iranian pilgrims since last year. for businessman. saying the process would be carried out in the shortest time possible.
The envoy also called for setting up industrial zones in regions near the border between Iran and Iraq. saying the move would lead to economic developments in those areas.
On Tuesday. Yahya Al Eshaq. who heads the Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce. said Iran has exported some $13 billion worth of goods and services to neighboring Iraq in the last local calendar year (March 21. 2018-March 20. 2019). which marks a 37% increase in a year-on-year comparison.
He said a major part of Iran’s export to Iraq has been technical and engineering services offered to the Arab country by companies from the Iranian private sector.
Back in May. Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi in a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo underlined that Baghdad will not loosen relations with Iran despite Washington`s sanctions.
Also in May. Iraqi Power Minister Luay al-Khateeb announced that Baghdad has informed the US that it will not comply with the US’ unilateral sanctions against Tehran as the Arab country still needs Iran’s gas and electricity.