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US Eyes Measures Against Iraq for Violating Iran Sanctions

US Eyes Measures Against Iraq for Violating Iran Sanctions

Monday, 22 April, 2019 - 07:00
A general a view of Basra, Iraq September 9, 2018. (Reuters)
The United States may take diplomatic measures against Iraq if it fails to comply with the sanctions on Iran, according to US Charge d’Affaires in Baghdad Joey Hood.

The United States does not monitor Iran from its bases in Iraq and it wants Iraq to be independent in the field of energy, Hood said in an interview with al-Dijlah channel on Saturday.

He explained that the US administration has given Iraqi government short-term exemptions on energy imports from Iran, but it wanted Iraq to produce its own energy and gas.

Hood accused Iran of pressuring Iraq to break US sanctions, asserting that Washington was closely watching and would take necessary action in this regard. In addition, it would stop any transfers to companies and individuals, especially those associated with Iranian entities such as the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

In turn, member of the parliamentary foreign relations committee and MP of Reform and Reconstruction Alliance Furat al-Tamimi, ruled out any importance to the Chargé d'Affaires’ statements, saying he didn’t enjoy “high level in US diplomacy.”

“We are awaiting the arrival of the new US ambassador to see what can be done, and what exactly is the US position," he told Asharq al-Awsat

Tamimi voiced his conviction that Washington would not impose diplomatic or non-diplomatic sanctions on Baghdad as a result of Iraq's clear position from Iranian sanctions and the two countries' commitment to the Strategic Framework Agreement.

He noted that Iraq was geographically associated with Iran, which Washington recognized, indicating that he, personally, had no fear of US sanctions.

However, head of Iraqi Center for Political Thought Ihsan al-Shammari believes that the imposition of diplomatic sanctions is possible, and this could lead to cooling relations between Washington and Baghdad, especially with Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi declaring that he would not abide by US sanctions against Tehran.

Shammari told Asharq Al-Awsat he believes Washington was testing Iraq’s ability to find alternatives, especially now that Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt expressed their willingness to supply it with electricity.

He predicts that if Iraq does not facilitate the development of alternatives, US will impose sanctions through two tracks: the first through diplomatic methods which could harm relations between the two countries, and the second through the imposition of sanctions on figures and armed factions associated with Iran.

Shammari believes that sanctions on figures and factions is the more difficult option and could damage the political situation.

The US will announce in June lists of political figures, factions, and traders close to Iran on the terror list, Shammari believes especially as the US Congress has discussed issuing a law to prosecute those who contribute to destabilizing Iraq.

Fatah Coalition MP Qusai Abbas considered Hood’s statement a new way to blackmail Iraqi authorities in an attempt to prevent any legislation or resolution that would legalize US presence in Iraq.

Abbas asked the Iraqi Foreign Ministry to summon the Charge d'Affaires and hand over a formal protest note, considering Hood’s statement an interference in Iraq’s internal affairs that has a negative impact on the nature of the relationship between Iraq and US.

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