Rouhani’s visit to Iraq will be ‘turning point’: Iraq deputy FM

Baghdad: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s maiden visit to Iraq will be a “turning point” in the bilateral relations the two countries share, Iraq’s deputy Foreign Minister Nazar al-Khairullah said on Saturday.

Rouhani is slated to visit Iraq on March 11.

“The visit is eagerly anticipated by Iraq’s government and people. The two countries share many commonalities and there is much understanding between them, and the visit by Iran’s president would be a turning point in their relations since a new cabinet has come to office in Iraq,” IRNA quoted Khairullah as saying.

In November last year, Iraq’s President Barham Saleh had visited Iran while in January, Iran’s then Foreign Minister Javad Zarif had visited Iraq.

Iran, who has long-standing ties with the US-ally Iraq, had faced a dilemma after Washington levied sanctions on Tehran.

Notably, Iraq is Iran’s second-largest market after China and purchases everything from food and machinery to electricity and natural gas.

Last year, United States President Donald Trump had announced “toughest sanctions” on Iran which has punctured the country’s economy. Tehran has seen its oil exports plunge and its currency lose more than half its value.