ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region will find alternatives to obtain goods it imports from Iran after Tehran ceased many of its exports as a result of US sanctions, a Kurdish official said on Saturday.
The Kurdistan Region relies extensively on Iran for various products, produce, and other food-related imports to the Kurdish semi-autonomous region.
US sanctions, the first of which went into effect in May, have crippled Iran’s economy and its currency. As a measure to deal with curtailed international trade, Iran has recently limited its exports to fulfill the immediate needs of its own people and to prepare for the second batch of US sanctions that will affect the nation's energy sector, to be enacted on Nov. 5.
In a press conference held in Sulaimani on Saturday, the Head of the Union of Importers and Exporters of the Kurdistan Region, Mustafa Abdulrahman, told reporters that the Kurdistan Region is looking for alternative suppliers to replace Iran.
“Unlike before, Iran now cannot export some products and goods to the Kurdistan Region. Therefore, we are looking for substitute countries to fulfill our internal demands and prevent prices from going up,” Abdulrahman said.
He mentioned that the Kurdistan Region has many opportunities for trade and business and that it has also become a gate for transferring goods and products to the central and southern provinces of Iraq.
Turkey is the Kurdistan Region’s biggest trade partner, and Kurdistan is trying to increase its imports by turning to its northern neighbor, according to Abdulrahman.
The Kurdish official noted that many foreign delegates and representative of major companies have visited the Kurdistan Region in an aim to develop trade ties, including Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
He stated that a recent delegation of companies in Poland visited Erbil and expressed their readiness to cooperate with the region in exporting to it most of the products its population needs.
The Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani previously stated that Kurdistan will deal with US sanctions on Iran “within the framework and policy of Iraqi federal government.”
The US has repeatedly warned other nations that they would face severe consequences, should they violate the sanctions by trading with Iran. Baghdad has been attempting to negotiate with Washington for an exemption to at least some of the measures due to the Iraqi economy's dependence on Iran, but US officials have not given a clear indication of their intentions to grant such requests.
Editing by John J. Catherine