The Iraqi electricity ministry’s spokesperson reported that Iran had “reduced gas exports to Iraq to five million cubic metres from 50 million cubic metres” and informed Iraqi authorities about further cuts “to three million cubic metres”. “We strongly encourage Iraq’s finance ministry to resolve the unpaid bills with Iran to avoid critical shortages of power supplies in Baghdad and other cities”, he added. The following day, the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) confirmed that Iraq owed Iran $6 billion in either unpaid or frozen payments. During a 29 December visit to Baghdad, Iran’s energy minister met with his counterpart and the two sides reached an agreement seeing Iran “urgently resume gas pumping”; the Iranian minister also revealed that “good agreements were reached… to withdraw Iranian funds from Iraq to pay for the purchase of the coronavirus vaccine from Europe using Iran’s existing financial resources in Iraq”. “We hope to use our existing financial resources in Iraq more quickly to purchase basic goods and other needed items in the near future”, he further indicated.
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