Trade ties in focus as Iran's Rouhani visits Iraq

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 11, 2019 - Duration: 01:07s

Trade ties in focus as Iran's Rouhani visits Iraq

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani began a first official visit to Iraq on Monday meant to bolster Tehran's influence and expand trade ties to help offset renewed U.S. sanctions.

Saskia O'Donoghue reports

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Trade ties in focus as Iran's Rouhani visits Iraq

An historic meeting in Iraq.

The country's president Barham Salih welcomed his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani in his first official visit on Monday (March 11).

While it was all smiles on the surface, Rouhani took the opportunity to signal to Washington and Gulf Arab allies that Tehran still plays a dominant role in Iraqi politics.

He condemned U.S. military intervention in the Middle East in the face of sanctions put on Tehran reimposed after the U.S. pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal.

But the main thrust of the meeting in Iraq was trying to bolster Tehran's influence and expand trade ties to help offset the sanctions.

During Rouhani's three-day visit, local media say a series of agreements will be signed in energy, transport, agriculture, industry and health.

The slump in Iran's economy since President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers has pushed the Islamic Republic to try to expand commercial ties with neighbors.

Other signatories to the deal have been trying to salvage the pact, but U.S. sanctions have largely scared off European companies from doing business with Iran.

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