Jordanian king in Iraq to finalize Basra-Aqaba oil pipeline

King Abdullah’s last trip to Iraq was in 2008, when he became the first Arab leader to visit Baghdad after strongman Saddam Hussein was toppled by the US-led invasion in 2003. (AFP)
Updated 15 January 2019

Jordanian king in Iraq to finalize Basra-Aqaba oil pipeline

  • The visit is the latest in a string of top-level diplomatic encounters in Iraq in recent weeks
  • The two countries share a 179-kilometer border, and Jordan is a major importer of Iraqi crude oil

BAGHAD: King Abdullah of Jordan visited Iraq on Monday to activate security agreements between the two countries and finalize an oil pipeline project from Basra to the port of Aqaba.

The king, on his first visit since 2008, was greeted by President Barham Salih on a red carpet at Baghdad airport before heading to meet Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. Salih welcomed the visit as strengthening “joint interests and security.”

The visit took place amid confusion in the region after the US administration’s decision to withdraw its troops from Syria and the escalation of US pressure on Iran over its nuclear program.

“Baghdad and Amman will be the basis for strengthening relations between Arab brothers and starting a serious and constructive dialogue to end the crises in the region,” Salih’s office said.

The king also had talks with parliamentary Speaker Mohammed Al-Halabousi and Ammar Al-Hakim, head of the Reform Coalition, one of the biggest parliamentary blocs.

Iraqi officials told Arab News the visit was aimed at activating economic and security agreements signed by Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Al-Razzaz in Baghdad last month, including the pipeline.

“The Jordanians eagerly want the project of extending the oil pipeline from Basra to Aqaba as this will revive the port and it will bring great financial resources to Jordan,” a senior Iraqi official said.


Rouhani says Iran budget set to resist US sanctions by curbing oil dependence

Updated 08 December 2019

Rouhani says Iran budget set to resist US sanctions by curbing oil dependence

  • Rouhani said the draft state budget was designed to resist US sanctions

TEHRAN: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday presented to parliament what he called a “budget of resistance” against crippling sanctions imposed by arch-enemy the United States.

“Next year, similar to the current year, our budget is a budget of resistance and perseverance against sanctions,” Rouhani told parliament in remarks broadcast on state radio.

“This budget announces to the world that despite sanctions we will manage the country, especially in terms of oil,” he added.

The budget for the financial year starting late March 2020 comes after fuel price hikes that were imposed in mid-November triggered deadly demonstrations across the Islamic republic.

In his speech, Rouhani announced a 15 percent increase for public sector wages in a country whose economy has been battered by US sanctions.

US President Donald Trump began imposing punitive measures in May 2018, after unilaterally withdrawing from an accord that gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for limits on its nuclear program.

The International Monetary Fund has forecast that Iran’s economy will contract by 9.5 percent this year.