19 March 2023

Iranian Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) secretary Ali Shamkhani signed a security agreement in Iraq which, according to Iranian state media, would “have a decisive impact on reducing and managing the unwanted security challenges between the two states, which are caused due to the mischief of anti-Islamic establishment elements residing in Iraq’s Kurdistan region”. Shamkhani told his counterpart that “the careful implementation of such an agreement will lead to a significant decrease in terrorist threats and border insecurity, and prepare the ground for fostering bilateral ties in security, economic and political fields more than ever before”. Separately, he told Prime Minister al-Sudani that “a united, integrated and powerful Iraq is the pillar of stability in the region”, adding: “We should not allow the two countries’ interests to fall victim to the U.S.’s mischief and its terrorist mercenaries”. The following day, Shamkhani announced “a new arrangement to use Iranian funds that remain blocked in Iraq because of U.S. sanctions… The funds will be used to purchase basic goods and to settle payments owed by Iranian merchants to trade partners in Iraq”.

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