Breaking: Businessman reveals details of Iran-Iraq deal on blocked funds
A major Iranian businessman with interests in trade in neighboring Iraq says the two countries have a detailed agreement on how Tehran would be able to use billions of US dollars in funds blocked in an Iraqi bank because of US sanctions.
Hamid Hosseini told IRNA that Iraq will enable businesses and companies from Iran to access the funds deposited in the Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) for imports of food and medicine based on a waiver that it has obtained from Washington.
“This country can pay back its debts to Iran despite the sanctions as it has received exemptions over the return of the blocked funds,” said Hosseini while referring to an estimated $5 billion worth of funds Iraq owes to Iran for purchases of natural gas and electricity.
He added that the TBI would not charge any sums for processing the Iranian funds either in euro or in US dollar.
“This bank (TBI) has announced that the Iranian merchants can effectively trade using the blocked funds.”
However, the businessman said that it would take at least a month for the new arrangement to take effect, adding that the two countries have signed a 10-article document to elucidate the rules on which companies can engage in the trade and how payments will be settled.
Hosseini, who serves as secretary general of the Iran-Iraq joint chamber of commerce, said that Iranian companies will be able to deal with partner firms in Iraq or with third-country companies that have an account in the TBI.
He said Iranian businesses and firms willing to engage in trade within the new mechanism should be qualified by the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) and the state-run electricity company Tavanir.