Iran to resume gas flows to Iraq after agreement on unpaid bills: Iraq ministry

By Ahmed Rasheed BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iran will resume normal gas flows to Iraq on Wednesday after reaching an agreement with Iraq on Tuesday over unpaid bills, a spokesman for Iraq's electricity ministry said. Iran's state gas company said on Monday it had slashed supplies to neighbouring Iraq over arrears of more than $6 billion. The Iraqi electricity ministry said the cuts placed Baghdad and other cities at risk of serious power shortages.

Reuters December 30, 2020 00:11:17 IST
Iran to resume gas flows to Iraq after agreement on unpaid bills: Iraq ministry

Iran to resume gas flows to Iraq after agreement on unpaid bills Iraq ministry

By Ahmed Rasheed

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iran will resume normal gas flows to Iraq on Wednesday after reaching an agreement with Iraq on Tuesday over unpaid bills, a spokesman for Iraq's electricity ministry said.

Iran's state gas company said on Monday it had slashed supplies to neighbouring Iraq over arrears of more than $6 billion. The Iraqi electricity ministry said the cuts placed Baghdad and other cities at risk of serious power shortages.

An agreement was reached during a meeting between Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian, who is visiting Baghdad, and Iraqi counterpart Majid Mahdi to resume normal gas flow rates as of Wednesday evening, spokesman Ahmed Moussa told Reuters.

"Meeting ended with resolving lingering issues and gas flow would be resumed to reach normal rates gradually," he said.

Iran's electricity minister also met with Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and conveyed the Iranian government's pledge to "urgently resume gas pumping which had been slashed recently after technical problems", a statement from the prime minister's office cited Iran's minister as saying without giving details.

It was not clear if a specific deal over arrears had been concluded with Tehran to pay the delayed bills.

But a senior member of the Iran-Iraq chamber of commerce said Tehran had accepted a barter deal and would receive goods as part of the arrears.

"Iran has bought goods for part of Iraq's debt..., which will arrive in the country in the next few days," Hamid Hoseini told the official Iranian news agency IRNA.

Iraq said on Dec. 21 it was ready to export 700,000 tonnes of barley to Iran at a price of $125 per tonne as part of payments owed by the Iraqi government to Iran.

An Iraqi trade ministry official said on Tuesday the barley export shipments to Iran, in addition to other goods will be used to pay back for part of the delayed gas debts.

Iran has been unable to access billions of dollars in assets in several countries due to U.S. sanctions.

The United States has insisted that oil-rich Iraq, OPEC's second-largest producer, moves towards self-sufficiency as a condition for its exemption to import Iranian energy, yet Baghdad has struggled to do so, in part due to low oil prices.

(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Additional reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by David Evans)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.