Iran’s Zarif Due in India, Iraq for Official Visits
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif plans to visit India and neighboring Iraq in coming days.
Heading a large economic delegation, Zarif is slated to travel to India at the official invitation of South Asian country’s officials.
The top diplomat said representatives of Iran’s private sector would have an active presence in the trip.
After visiting India, Zarif is planned to go to Iraq and hold talks with senior officials of the Arab country on issues of mutual interest.
The visits would come against the backdrop of Iran’s efforts to boost its foreign trade in the US sanctions era.
Iraq’s foreign minister said on Wednesday that his country is "not obliged" to abide by sanctions imposed by the US against Iran and would be pursuing options to continue bilateral trade.
On December 20, the US granted Baghdad a 90-day extension to a waiver on abiding by the sanctions that were re-imposed on the Islamic Republic in November.
Trade between the two neighboring countries is thought to amount to around $12bn, while Iran provides around 40 percent of Iraq's electricity needs.
Although Iraq faces possible censure by the US if it fails to cease its trading with Iran by the end of the waiver period, Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali al-Hakim said his country could continue relations with Iran.
"These sanctions, the siege, or what is called the embargo, these are unilateral, not international. We are not obliged (to follow) them," he said, speaking to a gathering of journalists on Wednesday.