Iraq PM to visit Iran, Turkey as US sanctions bite

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi is to visit top trading partners Turkey and Iran next week. (File photo / AFP)
Updated 11 August 2018
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Iraq PM to visit Iran, Turkey as US sanctions bite

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi is to visit top trading partners Turkey and Iran next week, an official said Saturday, days after Washington slapped new sanctions on Tehran and piled economic pressure on Ankara.
Abadi “will head to Turkey on Tuesday and Iran on Wednesday to discuss economic affairs with the two countries,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
Iraq is the second-largest importer of Iranian non-hydrocarbon products, buying some $6 billion (5 billion euros) worth of goods from its eastern neighbor in 2017.
It also buys Iranian-generated electricity in efforts to deal with chronic power cuts that have been a key factor sparking mass protests in recent weeks.
Abadi on Tuesday said Iraq would reluctantly comply with sanctions against Tehran which took effect the same day.
It came after the administration of US President Donald Trump’s , unilateral withdrawal from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
“We don’t support the sanctions because they are a strategic error, but we will comply with them,” Abadi said.
Baghdad is allied with Washington, a strategic partner in the war that saw Iraq declare “victory” over Daesh militants in late 2017.
But it also has strong ties to Tehran, which is heavily involved in Iraq’s political affairs.
Abadi’s visit to Ankara is also overshadowed by a bitter row between NATO allies Turkey and the US.
Trump said Friday he was doubling steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey as part of an ongoing row over the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson and other issues.
The row has caused the Turkish lira to crash, dropping 16 percent against the dollar on Friday.


Arab anger over ‘theft of occupied Golan Heights’

Updated 26 March 2019
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Arab anger over ‘theft of occupied Golan Heights’

  • Israel seized part of the Golan during the 1967 Six-Day War, subsequently annexing it in 1981
  • US President Trump officially recognized Israel's sovereignty of the Golan Heights on March 25, 2019

JEDDAH: Arab states on Monday condemned US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

The decision “does not change the area’s status” as illegally occupied territory, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said.

Breaking decades of international consensus, Trump signed a proclamation at the White House on Monday recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the border area that Israel seized from Syria in 1967. 

Syria said the decision was a blatant attack on its sovereignty. 

“Trump does not have the right or the legal authority to legitimize the occupation,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Opposition chief Nasr Al-Hariri said Trump’s decision would “lead to more violence and instability, and it will have negative effects on efforts to engineer peace in the region.”

Lebanon said the move “violates all the rules of international law” and “undermines any effort to reach a just peace.”

“The Golan Heights are Syrian Arab land, no decision can change this, and no country can revisit history by transferring ownership of land from one country to another,” the Foreign Ministry said.