TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iraq’s President Barham Salih exchanged views with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif about a range of issues, including regional developments, and voiced his country’s willingness to enhance its relations with Iran.
In the meeting in Baghdad on Monday, attended by an Iranian delegation led by Zarif, Salih stressed the need to pursue political solutions to all regional problems, the Iraqi president’s office said in a statement.
Salih further highlighted the importance of bilateral relations between Tehran and Baghdad and voiced his country’s willingness to boost the ties.
He emphasized that closer bilateral relations not only serve both nations but also serve the security and stability of the entire region, according to the statement.
Heading a high-ranking Iranian delegation, Zarif arrived in Baghdad earlier on Sunday for an official visit.
The visit comes against the backdrop of Iran’s efforts to boost its foreign trade in the US sanctions era.
Iraq’s foreign minister said recently 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.
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.
“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 January 3.