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Iraqi Kurdistan Official: US Opposition Unable to Affect Ties with Iran

Governor-General of Sulaymeniyeh Haval Abu Bakir underlined that the Iraqi Kurdistan region is determined to further expand ties and cooperation with Iran irrespective of Washington's opposition.

“The Iraqi Kurdistan region does not take orders from the US for relations and border exchanges with Iran, but we obey the policies of the Central government (in Iraq) and we want to further develop ties (with Iran),” Abu Bakir told FNA on the sidelines of a congress in Kurdistan province in Western Iran on Tuesday.

He added that the Iraqi government has not issued any order about the type of trade and commercial ties at the borders between the Kurdistan region and Iran, and said, “We are ready to further develop ties with Iran.”

Abu Bakir also called for launching direct flights between Sanandaj in Iran’s Kurdistan province and Sulaymaniyeh in Iraqi Kurdistan region.

Back in February, President of Iraqi Kurdistan’s Regional Government (KRG) Masoud Barzani, in a meeting with Iranian Ambassador to Baghdad Iraj Masjedi, said that Erbil is eager to promote ties with Tehran in all fields.

Barzani, during his meeting with Masjedi on February 21, welcomed Iran’s viewpoints on deepening cooperation, saying, “We believe in regular contacts with Iran, and we are eager to promote ties in all fields.”

Appreciating Iran for its helps for fighting terrorism, he said that the KRG will use all in power to step up cooperation with the country.

Iran’s envoy, for his part, described bilateral ties as strategic, saying that prospects for mutual cooperation are bright.

“Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s economic situation will improve in light of mutual collaboration,” he said, noting that Iran has remarkable volume of trade with Iraq and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Transfer of Iran’s gas to KRG, mutual cooperation and private sector’s engagement can provide suitable opportunities for boosting relations, Masjedi said. 

A couple of days earlier, Governor of Halabja Governorate of KRG Azad Tofiq said, at a joint press conference with the Governor General of Iran’s Kermanshah Province Houshang Bazvand, that the Iraqi Kurdistan was profoundly indebted to Iran’s help and support throughout the past, adding that Erbil was hopeful to partially make up for Tehran’s helps then that the US had imposed unilateral sanctions against the country.

“We hope to return a small part of those aids now that the US has imposed unjust sanctions against Iran,” he added.

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