Iran exports to Iraq worth $11bn annually

Iran has been dominating the market in Iraq as the Baghdad moves forward to rebuild the Arab country. Commodities and energy top Iraqi annual imports.

7 January 2019
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Iran has been dominating the market in Iraq as the Baghdad moves forward to rebuild the Arab country. Commodities and energy top Iraqi annual imports.

An undated photo shows a man moving Iran and Iraq flags before a press conference between countries officials.

Iran exports commodities and energy to Iraq worth more than 11 billion dollars annually, says an official that coordinates Tehran’s economic ties with Baghdad and Damascus.

"We exported 6.4 billion dollars worth of commodities to Iraq last year," said Hassan Danaifar, secretary of the committee to develop Iran’s economic relations with Iraq and Syria on Sunday, expressing hope the exports rise 35% to hit 8 billion dollars by the end of the current Persian year (21 March).

Iranian exports to its neighbour rose 40% during the first nine months (April-December 2018), added Danaifar addressing a forum between the government and the private sector in Iran’s western Kurdistan province on the border with Iraq.

Data released by the National Agriculture and Water Strategic Research Center of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce last December showed that Iraq topped the target market of Iranian agriculture and food exports such as fruit, vegetable, milk and other dairy products, saffron and fish.  

Iran has been also supplying power to its neighbours such as Iraq, Afghanista, Pakistan and Armenia. The state firm Iran Power Generation and Transmission Company (Tavanir) says it’s ready to increase the current amount two-fold.

Iraq is also Iran’s first electricity importer. Currently Iran exports 1,200 megawatts of power to Iraq that are supplied from Iran’s western and south-western border areas such as Shalamcheh, Fakkeh and Kermanshah, according to Danaifar.

Secretary of Committee to Develop Iran Economic Ties with Iraq & Syria, Hassan Danaifar, talks about possible investment opportunities in Iraq. (Photo: IRNA) 

The official said Iran is also in talks with Iraqi Kurdistan to supply power from Iran’s western Kurdistan province.

The Administration of President Hassan Rouhani has urged his cabinet to pursue what he has called “power diplomacy” in a bid to boost economic ties with regional countries as well as increase its influence.

Earlier, President of Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce, Alireza Kolahi, told Iran Chamber Newsroom that Iranian power stations installed in the Iraqi capital Baghdad and the city of Najaf are actively supplying power. He also stressed that Iranian companies have gained the upper hand in winning contract to enter fully in the neighbouring country’s energy market.

Watch video: Alireza Kolahi explains Iran-Iraq power ties


Iraq is also dependant on Iranian gas as well especially in the cold season. “Iran sends 25 million cubic meters of gas annually to Iraq worth 3.5 billion dollars,”, said the secretary of the committee to develop Tehran’s economic ties with Baghdad and Syria.

Iraq was one of the eight countries that were granted US waivers to keep buying Iranian gas despite the renewed sanctions that took effect 5 November.  

Danaifar, who has been actively seeking the Iranian investment in post-war Iraq and Syria, estimates that reconstruction markets in these countries are worth 300 and 200 billion dollars respectively.

Earlier, Syrian Economy and Foreign Trade Minister, Mohammad Samer al-Khalil, estimated that Syria needs some 200 to 400 billion dollars to rebuild the country following huge gains by the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Watch video: Syrian minister says $400bn needed to reconstruct country

The Iranian official urged Iran’s border regions with Iraq to take advantage of the big Iraqi market, saying his country has taken “serious steps so Iranian companies win Iraqi contracts”.

Iran’s Kurdistan Province shares 230 kilometers of border with Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region with one active official border crossing called Bashmagh. There are also three active joint border markets between the two regions.

Iraqi tourists made up the majority of foreigners who entered Iran last year. Three million Iraqis visited the country in 2017, that is 75% of all foreign tourists, according to the Iranian official.

This year’s figures show some 2.5 million visitors from Iraq, Azerbaijan and Turkey visited Iran during the last eight months (April-November 2018), Iranian media cited Vali Teimuri, tourism deputy at Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of Iran.

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