December 31, 2020 | banking

Iraq to open euro bank account to pay Iran’s energy debts


TEHRAN – Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian said on Wednesday that Iraq is going to open a euro bank account to pave the way for settling all the country’s gas and electricity dues to Iran, IRNA reported.

“Based on an agreement which is going to be implemented in the coming days, Iraq is going to open a euro savings bank account in which the country’s debts to National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) and the Power Generation, Distribution, and Transmission Company (known as Tavanir) will be saved,” Ardakanian said on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting.

“Iraq's recent and past debts to our country will be transferred and saved in this account after being exchanged to euro,” the minister said.

This way, transferring the money or using it for purchasing basic goods and medicine will be less problematic considering the U.S. sanctions, he emphasized.

According to the official, the savings in this account can also be used for paying Iranian contractors and companies’ dues in the mentioned country.

Ardakanian announced the formation of a committee for working on the issue and said: 'As the Iranian head of the two countries’ Joint Economic Committee, I will monitor the process on a daily basis until we achieve desirable results.'

Gas exports to Iraq to be resumed

Iraq’s electricity ministry spokesman Ahmed Moussa told Reuters that Iran is going to resume normal gas flows to Iraq following the agreement reached between the two sides on Tuesday.

Iraq owes Iran over $6 billion for electricity and gas imports from the Islamic Republic, of which $3 billion is claimed to be blocked and inaccessible in the Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI).

Iran reduced its gas exports to the neighboring country by over 45 million cubic meters a day (mcm/d) on Monday, threatening to further reduce the current five mcm/d of gas supply to three mcm/d.

Ardakanian visited Iraq on Tuesday to meet with senior officials from the country and discuss various issues including the country’s energy debts to Iran.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Ardakanian arrived in Baghdad Tuesday morning after which he met with Iraqi Electricity Minister Majid Mahdi Hantush, the country’s Trade Minister Alaa Al-Jabouri, and the Governor of Iraq’s Central Bank Mustafa Ghaleb.

During these meetings, the two sides discussed bilateral monetary relations and explored ways for resolving the existing banking and monetary problems to establish a payment mechanism for settling the debts.

tehrantimes

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