EghtesadOnline: Iran’s foreign minister will visit the Kurdistan Region during a trip to Iraq that is aimed at boosting economic ties, a diplomat announced.
“Mohammed Javad Zarif, within the framework of his visit to Iraq, will have a stop in the Kurdistan Region as well,” Sadollah Mousadian, the Iranian consul general in Sulaymaniyah, confirmed to Rudaw.
Iran is Iraq’s largest trading partner.
“The agenda of his visit is to bolster relations between us and the people of Iraq in order to set mechanisms to develop economic relations for the benefit of the two sides,” Financial Tribune quoted Mousadian as saying.
“There is going to be a meeting with businessmen and influential Iraqi Kurdish figures next week in Sulaymaniyah,” he said.
Iran is the Kurdistan Region’s second largest trading partner after Turkey.
The aim of Zarif’s visit is to strengthen ties with the new Iraqi government and the incoming Kurdistan Regional Government.
Zarif is to first set off to India on Monday and then to Iraq.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi said on Friday that the tour is aimed at reaffirming Tehran’s friendship and commitment toward its neighbors.
“Iran has a good history in creating security and restoring peace to Iraq and Syria and even Yemen,” he said.
Zarif’s last visit to the Kurdistan Region was in October 2017 when he attended the funeral of Jalal Talabani, the former Iraqi president and the leader of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.
Iraq’s exemption from US-imposed sanctions against Iran was to expire at the end of 2018, but Washington extended the waiver for 90 days. It is unlikely that Baghdad and Erbil will be able to fully abide by the sanctions because of the longstanding and wide-ranging relations between their economies.