ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A senior Iraqi politician on Thursday asked Tehran to compensate its neighbor with billions of dollars for the “millions killed” after the Iranian government “let al-Qaeda” cross over into Iraq after the fall of the Ba’athist regime.
Faiq al-Sheikh Ali—head of the newly-formed “Civilized Alliance” that won 3 seats in the May 12 Iraqi election—made the statement on social media in response to Mahmoud Sadeghi, a member of Iranian Parliament (Majlis), who demanded reparations from Baghdad for the eight-year war, which he estimated at USD 1.1 trillion.
دولت عراق مطابق ماده ۶ قطعنامه ۵۹۸ ۱۱۰۰ میلیارد دلار بابت غرامت خسارات مستقیم جنگ تحمیلی به ایران بدهکار است؛ دولت ایران با لحاظ تنگناهای مردم عراق در مطالبه این غرامت تعلل کرده است؛ اکنون نخستوزیر عراق بهجای جبران، با تحریمهای ظالمانه علیه مردم ایران همراهی میکند!— محمود صادقی (@mah_sadeghi) August 9, 2018
In a social media post, Sadeghi lamented Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s decision to abide by the US-re-imposed sanctions on Iran.
“In response to the representative in the Islamic Consultative Assembly [Majlis member], that demanded USD 1.1 billion as compensation for war,” Ali began in his post, mistakenly translating the original post by Sadeghi which demanded USD 1.1 trillion.
“On behalf of families of the victims of terrorism, I ask you and your country to pay 11 billion US dollars as compensation for the 1 million Iraqis you killed when you let al-Qaeda into our country since 2003 under the pretext of fighting the Americans!” Ali said on his Twitter account.
رداً على مطالبة نائب رئيس مجلس الشورى الإيراني محمود صادقي العراق بتعويضهم عن الحرب ب1.1 مليار دولار أميركي.— فائق الشيخ علي/كلمتي للتاريخ (@faigalsheakh) August 9, 2018
فإني باسم عوائل ضحايا الإرهاب أطالبك وأطالب دولتك ب11 مليار دولار أميركي، كتعويض عن مليون عراقي قتلتموه، حينما أدخلتم القاعدة إلى بلادنا منذ 2003م بحجة محاربة الأميركيين!
Backing Sadeghi’s words, the Vice-President of Iran Massoumeh Ebtekar stated, “besides [the Iran-Iraq war damages], the reparations for [damages] to the environment due to the war with Iraq, Kuwait, and pollution to the Persian Gulf…must be added.”
Ebtekar claimed that the eighth government of Iran—beginning from August 2001 headed by Mohammad Khatami—had estimated the environmental damages at billions of dollars.
علاوه بر این غرامتهای زیست محیطی جنگ عراق و جنگ کویت و اسیب به خلیج فارس که در دولت هشتم مطالعه و محاسبه ان بالغ بر میلیاردها دلار ارزیابی شد و در کمیته غرامت سازمان ملل مطرح شد را نیز باید اضافه کرد. https://t.co/dyxGz9WPbs— Massoumeh Ebtekar (@ebtekarm) August 9, 2018
The demands for reparations come after this week’s US announcement of renewed sanctions on Iran, which is experiencing ongoing protests in response to high unemployment and inflation.
After Iran itself, Iraq will likely be the most affected by country by the US sanctions because of its heavy dependence on raw materials in addition to consumer goods and food coming from Iran.
Iraq, also suffering from high unemployment and in the throes of month-long protests in the southern and central provinces, is likely to lose thousands of jobs in the state-owned auto-assembling plant known as the State Company for Automotive Industry (SCAI), heavily reliant on export from Iran.
According to an official source in the Ministry of Commerce, the volume of Iranian exports to Iraq over the past year reached USD 6.7 billion, compared to about 77 million dollars of exports flowing the opposite way into Iran.
“The Iraqi market is a large consumer of Iranian goods: agricultural, autos, foodstuffs, and others such as building materials and so on,” Mazhar Mohammed Salah told AFP on Wednesday.
He added that Iraq receives between “two million and three million Iranians for religious tourism annually, which represents a major economic activity that will be deprived of Iraq."
In addition to the money paid by Iranians making pilgrimages in Iraq for travel, food, and lodging, each tourist pays $40 in fees for a permit to enter Iraq.
“The Iraqi economy will be affected,” Salah warned.
Editing by Nadia Riva