US pressures cannot stop Iraq, KRG relations with Iran: Nazim Dabbagh

TEHRAN, Jan. 21 (MNA) – Nazim Dabbagh, the representative of Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to Iran says that KRG-Iran economic relations are continuing despite the US anti-Iran sanctions.

The recent visit of the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif along with an economic and political delegation to Iraq and the Kurdistan region, US anti-Iran sanctions and possible visit of Iraqi President Barham Saleh to the United States as well as the presence of US troops in Iraq and Kurdistan region were among the issues discussed in an interview with the representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to Iran Nazim Dabbagh by MNA correspondent Somayyeh Khomar Baghi.

“The visit of Iran's foreign minister to Iraq was important, both for Baghdad and for the KRG. The issues that were discussed during the trip were security issues, as well as cooperation and consultation in the current conditions of the region,” Dabbagh said.

“Another issue discussed was the US sanctions against Iran. The two sides stressed that Tehran's relations with Baghdad and the Kurdistan region should continue. [On the trip] some agreements were signed whereby the bilateral cooperation between the two countries will continue,” the Kurdish diplomat added.

“According to Iraqi constitution, the Kurdistan region is committed to the necessary cooperation and maintaining the current conditions for the continuation of activities, and for this, there is no talk of a decline in the economic cooperation between Iran and Iraq. I think the cooperation will continue,” he went on to elaborate.

With respect to the previously reported increase in the number of US military bases on the Kurdish soil, Dabbagh stressed that there have been no new US bases established in KRG territories and that only the previously existent bases that had been built at the time of that fight against ISIL terrorist group are there.

Meanwhile, he stressed that the Iraqi Kurdistan region acts within the framework of Iraq's territorial integrity and cannot unilaterally decide on the presence of foreign troops on its territory, and this should be within the framework of the existing agreements with Baghdad.

In response to the question how the KRG and Baghdad can resist US anti-Iran economic sanctions, the Kurdish diplomat said that the United States is pressuring both Baghdad and Erbil to accompany with its anti-Iran sanctions and several US authorities have visited Iraq to follow up on the issue. He added that the details of the mechanisms to counter the pressures are not clear yet.

He, however, said “we will not get involved with the hostility towards the Iranian nation. We will do whatever we can to stand outside the anti-Iran sanctions and in this regard we will act within our agreement with Baghdad.”

Dabbagh added that the bilateral relations between Iraq and Iran are continuing as usual at the moment and Iraq is not going to play a part in anti-Iran sanctions. He noted that Iran and Iraq share long borders and nobody can change the geographical reality.

At the end, he confirmed the news of Iraqi president’s trip to the United States with securing Iraqi people’s interests and preserving bilateral relations with Iran on his agenda.

KI/4519329

News Code 141765

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