Category: Iran

Iraqi, Turkish Investors eye Iranian Petrol Stations

By John Lee.

Private investors from Iraq and Turkey have reportedly held preliminary negotiations with Iran to expand and modernize its fuel stations.

According to a report from Petrol Plaza, there are 3,600 fuel stations and 2,400 compressed natural gas (CNG) stations in Iran which need renovation and investment.

To date, more than 250 state-controlled fuel stations have been privatized in the country.

(Source: Petrol Plaza)

(Picture credit: Asadi S)

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Iraq Falls in Ease of Doing Business Index

By John Lee.

Iraq has been ranked 168th out of 190 countries in the World Bank‘s recent Doing Business 2018 report, down from 165th place the previous year.

Despite the fall in the rankings, the report notes that over the previous year Iraq simplified the process of starting a business by combining multiple registration procedures and reducing the time to register a company, and it launched a new credit registry, improving access to credit information.

Top of the list were New Zealand, Singapore and Denmark, with last place going to Somalia, just behind Eritrea and Venezuela. Iran ranked 124th, with Libya 185th.

Doing Business measures regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business. Ten of these areas are included in this year’s ranking on the ease of doing business: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. Doing Business also measures labor market regulation, which is not included in this year’s ranking.

(Source: World Bank)

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SH1335 Iran 50 Dinar Coin 1461

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Tehran-Baghdad sign One-Year Oil Swap Deal

Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi [Allibi, Luiebi] said on Sunday that a deal signed with Tehran to swap up to 60,000 barrels per day of crude produced from the northern Iraqi Kirkuk oilfield for Iranian oil is for one year.

This is an agreement for one year and then we will see after that whether to renew it,” Luaibi told reporters in Kuwait City on the sidelines of an Arab oil ministerial meeting, Reuters reported.

The agreement signed on Friday by the two OPEC countries provides for Iran to deliver to Iraq’s southern ports “oil of the same characteristics and in the same quantities” as those it would receive from Kirkuk.

The deal in effect allows Iraq to resume sales of Kirkuk crude, which have been halted since Iraqi forces took back control of the fields from the Kurds in October.

Between 30,000 and 60,000 bpd of Kirkuk crude will be delivered by tanker trucks to the border area of Kermanshah, where Iran has a refinery.

The two countries are planning to build a pipeline to carry the oil from Kirkuk, so as to avoid trucking the crude.

The pipeline could replace the existing export route from Kirkuk via Turkey and the Mediterranean by pipeline.

(Sources: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence; Iraqi Ministry of Oil)

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What next for PMU in Anbar Province?

By Shelly Kittleson for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

Flags of Iran-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous) — with their distinctive arm thrusting a gun upward over a green Iraq against a white background, a strip of red and a Quran below — fluttered at the checkpoint into Qaim, above a dusty, barren wadi below.

When Al-Monitor visited the area Nov. 6, the checkpoint was manned by Asaib Ahl al-Haq fighters and members of the fellow Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) militia Kataib Hezbollah, also long backed by Iran and a part of which continues to fight on the Syrian side of the border alongside the Syrian regime.

Referring to the capture of the Karableh and Saada areas of Qaim from the Islamic State (IS), Col. Moussa Hamad al-Karbouly told Al-Monitor in Karableh, “PMU fighters from the south were the first to enter.”

Karbouly leads the local Sunni PMU force, Liwa Aaly al-Furat (Upper Euphrates Regiment). Many local forces in the area have taken to using the terms “main PMU,” “southern PMU” and “Shiite PMU” to distinguish among outside paramilitary groups and local fighters, who are often somewhat inappropriately referred to as “tribal forces.”

Aaly al-Furat has members from several different tribes and receives monthly salaries from the Baghdad government, as do other PMU factions. It does not answer to any tribal leader, although it does maintain good relations with the various sheikhs in the area. Anbar province is a predominantly Sunni region, and tribal traditions and links are strong.

Aaly al-Furat has 500 men, who were trained by Danish Special Forces at the al-Asad air base farther east, also in Anbar, and equipped by the United States, Karbouly said. Other local forces have received training from the international coalition as well, while many non-local PMU forces have received support from Iran and Iranian advisers.

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Iran to Boost Gas Exports to Iraq

A top Iranian energy official unveiled plans for a rise in natural gas exports to neighboring Iraq next year.

In an interview with Tasnim on Saturday, Managing Director of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) Hamid Reza Araqi said the country’s exports of natural gas to Iraq will increase during the spring and summer of 2018.

Iran’s gas exports to Iraq, which now stand at 14 million cubic meters a day, are planned to reach the maximum capacity within three years, he added.

On June 22, at the beginning of summer, Iran started to export natural gas to Iraq after years of negotiations and settlement of financial problems.

Iran’s daily gas exports to Iraq are to reach 35 million cubic meters at the final stage.

Tehran and Baghdad signed a deal on the exports of natural gas from the giant South Pars Gas Field in 2013.

Under the deal, the Iranian gas is delivered to Sadr, Baghdad and al-Mansouryah power plants in Iraq through a 270-kilometer pipeline.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

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US Sanctions on PMUs puts Iraq in Tough Spot

By Mustafa Saadoun for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

The conflict between the United States and Iran has taken a new turn toward escalation against the Iranian-backed armed Shiite factions in Iraq. But this step might harm Washington’s interests in Baghdad and engage the Iraqi government in a crisis with the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).

While Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is trying to strike a balance to tame armed Shiite factions and earn US support, Washington is seeking to add armed factions affiliated with the PMU to the list of terrorist organizations.

The US House of Representatives introduced a bill in early November called “Iranian Proxies Terrorist Sanctions Act of 2017,” which calls for imposing terrorism-related sanctions on Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba and Asaib Ahl al-Haq. The bill was referred Nov. 3 to the Foreign Affairs committee.

Before Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba was formed in 2013, the United States designated its leader Akram al-Kaabi as a terrorist in 2008 per Executive Order No. 13438, on the grounds of “causing chaos in Iraq and threatening the stability and security of the alliance forces which were in Iraq before retreating completely in 2011.”

Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba was blacklisted less than a month after spokeswoman for the US State Department Heather Nauert described Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of the PMU, as a terrorist.

After Muhandis, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba and Asaib Ahl al-Haq were blacklisted, statements of various US Congress members indicated that the United States intends to designate additional Shiite factions as terrorist organizations.

While a harsher tone is being adopted in Iraqi statements against Washington, member of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee Hanan al-Fatalawi called on the Iraqi Foreign Ministry Nov. 17 to summon the US ambassador to Baghdad to find out the reasons behind “the future US war” on the PMU.

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Iran & China seek to eliminate US dollar from bilateral trade

Iran & China seek to eliminate US dollar from bilateral trade

RT5 hours ago

Tehran has been pursuing the goal of eliminating the dollar in its trade, and has been trying to sign currency swap agreements with a few target countries.

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