ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – An Iranian lawmaker recently said that his country’s economic balance sheet in Iraq is “negative,” while Turkey and Saudi Arabia continue to take a larger share, state-run media reported on Tuesday.
Heshmatullah Falahatpisha, chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s (Majlis) national security and foreign policy commission, told IRNA agency that along with other members of the official body they had discussed “Iran’s Economic Strategies in Iraq and Syria.”
During the meeting, the lawmakers raised the question of why Iran’s economic role had waned off given its strong military and political records.
“Iran’s place is empty in Baghdad’s bazaars,” and “in the cities of Najaf and Karbala, there is an unfair competition that is practically pushing out Iranian companies,” Falahatpisha said.
Reports indicate that Iran’s currency has lost nearly 60 percent of its value following years of poor management by the country’s financial institutions and the recent US re-imposition of sanctions.
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.
Iraq is yet to comment if they have worked on deals with other neighboring countries but have asserted that they would need two years to find alternative sources.
The chairman claimed that Saudi Arabia and Turkey have “come to the forefront of the Iraqi market,” adding that the two countries “forces are getting positions in the heart of government organizations.”
Should Tehran lose its place to other contenders, Falahatpisha argued, “whatever we have sacrificed in the political and military” areas are “virtually lost.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has previously said that annual bilateral trade numbers between the two Middle Eastern countries are at 12 billion USD and added they could aim for 20 billion USD in the future.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany