TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iraq’s foreign minister said that his country is "not obliged" to abide by sanctions imposed by the US against Iran and would be pursuing options to continue bilateral trade.

– Politics news –

On December 20, the US granted Baghdad a 90-day extension to a waiver on abiding by the sanctions that were re-imposed on the Islamic Republic in November.

Trade between the two neighboring countries is thought to amount to around $12bn, while Iran provides around 40 percent of Iraq's electricity needs.

Although Iraq faces possible censure by the US if it fails to cease its trading with Iran by the end of the waiver period, Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali al-Hakim said his country could continue relations with Iran, the Middle East Eye reported.

"These sanctions, the siege, or what is called the embargo, these are unilateral, not international. We are not obliged (to follow) them," he said, speaking to a gathering of journalists on Wednesday.

He said a number of "possibilities" had been suggested that could keep trade routes open with Iran, "including dealing in Iraqi dinars in bilateral trade".

Last month, Iraq's President Barham Salih visited Iran and discussed strengthening economic ties between the two countries with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani.

"The economic exchange between the two countries is $12bn and we can increase this to $20bn,” said Rouhani after the meeting.