ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Tehran wants to export gas to the Kurdistan Region, Hassan Danayi-Far, the secretary general of Iran’s economic relations with Iraq and Syria, said on Sunday.
The statement came during an event on the financial affairs of the country in its Kurdish city of Sanandaj in Kurdistan Province days ahead of a planned visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, where he is set to meet with officials to discuss bilateral and economic ties.
Since Kurdistan province “shares a common culture and border” with the Kurdistan Region, there is ample opportunity to “pilot” bilateral trade ties, argued Danayi-Far according to Fars News Agency.
We “would like to start gas exports to the Kurdistan region through Halabja.”
This comes as Washington imposed a second round of sanctions on Iran in November, targeting the financial and energy sectors of the country.
The sanctions have limited Iran’s trade with other countries. Iraq was among the countries Washington gave a waiver to that allowed for a temporary purchase of gas, on which the country is heavily dependent to fuel its power plants.
As the 45-day permission expired, reports suggested the US had extended the waiver period by an additional three months after Baghdad asserted to have run into difficulties finding a replacement supplier of fuel.
US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry visited and met with officials from Iraq and the Kurdistan Region in December and affirmed Washington’s commitment to their pressure campaign against Iran.
“We’re here. We’re serious, we’re in it together,” one informed source summarized Perry’s message in Erbil, “we really want to make sure that Iraq becomes an independent energy hub, separate from Iran.”
In the coming days, Iran’s foreign minister will visit Baghdad before landing in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region, where he will meet with senior Kurdish leaders, Saadullah Masoudiyan, the Iranian Consul in Sulaimani province, told reporters on Saturday.
Iran’s envoy in Sulaimani also mentioned that Tehran would assist the Kurdistan Region in “fulfilling its import needs” with locally-sourced products from Iran.
Masoudiyan said that Zarif would discuss bilateral and economic ties with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. He also noted a conference would be held next week in Sulaimani to bring Kurdish, Iraqi, and Iranian businessmen together to strengthen trade and boost the languishing economies.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany