Iraq to Accelerate Releasing Iranian Funds: Iran's Finance Minister

Iraq to Accelerate Releasing Iranian Funds: Iran's Finance Minister

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian funds that have remained 'blocked' in Iraq in recent years because of US sanctions will be released "in the shortest time possible" based on a recent understanding reached between Tehran and Baghdad, Iran’s finance minister said.

Iran's Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Seyed Ehsan Khandouzi told Iran’s official IRNA news agency on Wednesday that Iraqi officials had promised that the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) will soon have access to more than $10 billion worth of Iranian funds in the Arab country.

He said the Iraqis need to secure permits from the US government to provide CBI with access to the funds that are held in accounts in the Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI), Press TV reported.

The minister said the CBI will able to use the funds in the TBI to pay for imports of goods and commodities into Iran.

The comments come more than a week after Iranian Oil Ministry authorities said that Iraq was no longer in arrears for its previous imports of natural gas from Iran.

Statements by the US government officials have also indicated that they have allowed Iraq to release the funds so that it can continue to import the gas it needs for generating electricity.

A senior Iranian businessman who is familiar with the issue stgated on Wednesday that Iraq had made payments in the Iraqi dinar into two TBI accounts that are controlled by Iran’s state gas and electricity companies to settle a bulk of its debts to Iran.

Secretary of Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce Jahanbakhsh Sanjabi said that Iraq will still need to obtain a license from the US to convert the funds to US dollars.

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