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Iraqi Central Bank Chief in Tehran

Iraqi Central Bank Chief in Tehran
Iraqi Central Bank Chief in Tehran

The Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Ali Salehabadi conferred with Mustafa Ghaleb, the governor of Central Bank of Iraq, on Thursday in Tehran. 
They discussed promoting bilateral banking and financial.
“Expanding commercial and banking relations is among the priorities of both countries and we hope to increase cooperation,” Salehabadi said on the sidelines of the meeting, the CBI website wrote. 
Ghaleb called for removing commercial and economic hurdles to effectively build neighborly ties. He was accompanied by the head of Iraq Trade Bank and a senior advisor to the Iraqi prime minister. 
Prior to the meeting with the CBI boss, Ghaleb called on Vice-President Mohammad Mokhber. The outcome of this meeting was not known, but the IRIB news website said the talks focused on the long-delayed settlement of Iraq’s gas and electricity debts to Tehran.  
Both sides have been working on ways to settle the Arab country’s debt without exposing the Iraqi financial system to US sanctions. 
Reimbursement of debts to Iran has been impeded by the 2018 economic blockade imposed by former US president, Donald Trump. After enforcing the sanctions, the US granted Iraq several temporary waivers to buy electricity and gas from Iran.
Several meetings have been held and both sides say they have been able to remove obstacles to settling the debts.
Due to the economic and banking restrictions, mainly related to gas and electricity export, billions of dollars of Iranian forex assets are blocked in Baghdad.  It is generally believed that the Iraqi side owes $5 billion.   
Iraq's economy relies almost exclusively on oil revenue paid in dollars, which leaves Baghdad extremely vulnerable to punitive measures the US could take in response to violating the sanctions.
Both sides have pinned much hope on the outcome of the ongoing negotiations between Iran and world powers in Vienna to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, known officially as the JCPOA.
Revival of the accord will enable Iraqi banks to settle the debts.
Despite the sanctions, the two neighbors are major trade partners. Iran’s non-oil exports to Iraq stood at 12 million tons worth $3.16 billion in the first five months of the current fiscal year (March 21-Aug. 22), registering a 53% and 31% growth in weight and value respectively compared to the 7.8 million tons worth $2.4 billion in the corresponding period  last year, the secretary-general of Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce, Jahanbakhsh Sanjabi Shirazi said earlier.
The neighboring country was the second top destination of Iranian goods during the period after China with 10 million tons of imports worth $4.3 billion.
“Imports from Iraq stood at 246,000 tons worth $140 million in the first four months of the current fiscal year [March 21-July 22] – up 540% in terms of value,” Sanjabi Shirazi said. 

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