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Demos
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Iran Seeks Iraq's Help Defying US Sanctions
Mar 12th, 2019 at 4:14pm
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If you haven't been paying attention, the remaining members of the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal) are seeking ways around U.S. sanctions in a bid to keep Iran in the deal. For example, France, Britain and Germany have created a "special purpose vehicle" which is intended to skirt sanctions.

Now, Iran is also seeking closer ties with Iraq to help ease U.S. sanctions, though this deal will have a much broader impact in the region.

Quote:
Iran Seeks Help From Iraq to Defy U.S. Sanctions

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is seeking to boost economic links with Iraq on his first official visit to the neighboring country, at a time when the U.S. is upping efforts to curb Tehran’s regional influence.

A strong relationship with Iraq—a former enemy—is now paramount in Iran’s foreign policy. Tehran is looking for Baghdad’s support to mitigate the effects of sanctions reimposed by the U.S. after it pulled out of the 2015 multilateral Iranian nuclear deal last year. While Iraq is a major oil producer, it still relies on natural gas from Iran for more than 40% of its electricity. Power shortages drove widespread protests in Iraq last year...

The two presidents discussed establishing joint industrial zones, linked railways and deeper energy cooperation, Mr. Salih said.

Mr. Rouhani, who is accompanied by a political and economic delegation, also met Iraqi Prime Minister Abdel Abdul-Mahdi to discuss joint economic projects and cooperation against terrorism, they said in a joint press conference.

The two leaders signed a number of memorandums of understanding on oil, trade, transportation and health—though they didn’t give details—and said they would do away with visas to ease travel for businessmen and investors between the two countries...

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia, which is also vying for a stake in Iraq’s future, are working to offer Iraq energy alternatives and to drive a commercial wedge between Baghdad and Tehran. But American officials have said Iraq will need more time to reduce its dependence on Iran’s power supply. In December, Washington granted Iraq a three-month waiver to purchase Iranian gas...

Mr. Rouhani is also expected to meet Iraq’s chief Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, an encounter that would indicate Iran’s rising standing in Iraq. Mr. Sistani, one of the world’s leading Shiite authorities, rejected a visit from Mr. Rouhani’s predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2013.

Iraq is also one of Iran’s top non-oil export markets, with a trade volume of $9 billion in agricultural products and construction materials, as well as cars and home appliances. U.S. sanctions, meant to choke Iran financially, have helped increase that trade by weakening the Iranian currency and allowing cheap Iranian goods to flow into Iraq.

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Re: Iran Seeks Iraq's Help Defying US Sanctions
Reply #1 - Mar 19th, 2019 at 12:39pm
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Quote:
U.S. Pressures Iraq Over Embrace of Militias Linked to Iran

ABOARD THE UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE’S AIRPLANE TO KUWAIT — The United States’ attempts to isolate Iran, including by punishing Iraqi militias and politicians who are supported by Iranian officials, has deepened tensions not only between Washington and Baghdad but also within the Trump administration.

American military and intelligence officials said the increasing pressure on Iraq risks infuriating its Parliament, including politicians linked to Iran, which could limit the movements of the 5,200 United States troops based in Iraq.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose confrontational stand on Iran has already strained ties with European allies, is leading the push for Iraq to confront its fellow Shiite-majority neighbor. He will arrive in the Middle East on Tuesday to speak with officials in Kuwait, Israel and Lebanon about containing Iran...

The plans also would designate some Iraqi Shiite militias as foreign terrorist organizations. As a result, the Iranian-trained militias — and Iraqi officials who support them — would be subject to new economic sanctions and travel restrictions...

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Re: Iran Seeks Iraq's Help Defying US Sanctions
Reply #2 - Apr 4th, 2019 at 2:56pm
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The drumbeat grows...

Quote:
Iran responsible for deaths of 608 American troops in Iraq

The U.S. military has revealed it believes Iran has helped kill 608 U.S. troops in Iraq since 2003, according to newly revealed and formerly-classified numbers.

"In Iraq, I can announce today, based on declassified U.S. military reports, that Iran is responsible for the deaths of at least 608 American service members," Brian Hook, U.S. Special Representative for Iran, said during a State Department briefing Tuesday.

“This accounts for 17 percent of all deaths of U.S. personnel in Iraq from 2003 to 2011. This death toll is in addition to the many thousands of Iraqis killed by the IRGC’s proxies.” Since 2003, more than 4,400 U.S. service members have been killed in Iraq...

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