Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) – The Iraqi government will stop trading with Iran in the US dollar, but it will not abide by the US sanctions against Tehran, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Monday.
Speaking at a weekly press conference at the governmental palace in central Baghdad, Abadi said, “Iraq took a decision not to trade with Iran in the US dollar, but this does not mean that our country abides by Washington’s sanctions against Tehran.”
“Iraq will abandon the US dollar in its trade with Iran,” Abadi stressed.
Abadi was due to visit Iran and Turkey this week but Iranian authorities announced on Monday cancelling the visit due to the Iraqi stance towards the US sanctions against Tehran.
However, Abadi’s office said the prime minister’s visit to Iran had been called off “because of his busy schedule.”
Abadi will go ahead with his visit to Turkey as scheduled on Tuesday.
Iran and Iraq have developed close ties since Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003 by a U.S.-led invasion.
Shi’ite-led Iran has become heavily involved in Iraq’s political affairs and sponsored powerful Shi’ite militia groups that played a role in defeating Islamic State (IS) extremists last year.
Iraq has also established close relations with the United States in the subsequent years, especially in the fight against Al-Qaeda and IS.
Meanwhile, Tehran and Washington have long been bitter adversaries, forcing Baghdad to delicately balance relations with both countries.
Iran’s economy has come under intense strain since U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal that Tehran signed with six world powers and reimposed sanctions that had been eased under the terms of the accord.