Zanganeh: Iran won’t comply with 'illegal' US sanctions
Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer al-Ghadhban said Iraq and Iran were jointly exploring two oilfields shared by the two countries, despite US efforts to isolate Iran from global oil markets.
Ghadhban said Iraq was honoring an existing exploration agreement with neighboring Iran. He made the comments at a joint news conference in Baghdad on Thursday with his Iranian counterpart Bijan Namdar Zanganeh.
The US has been pressuring Iraq to break its energy dependence in Iran since it reinstated sanctions against the Islamic Republic last year. Iraq imports gas and electricity from Iran to meet its energy needs.
The US granted Iraq a sanctions waiver until March to continue buying gas from Iran.
Ghadhban said his discussions with Zanganeh had touched on energy issues, describing mutual economic and trade relations as “good and expansive,” but that they had not yet reached an agreement to develop joint oilfields.
He also said a decline in global oil prices had stopped and that he expected them to rise gradually.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which Iran and Iraq are members, and its Russia-led allies agreed on Dec. 7 to cut output by more than expected, despite pressure from US President Donald Trump to reduce oil prices.
The OPEC deal had hung in the balance on concerns that Iran, whose crude exports have been depleted by US sanctions, would receive no exemption and block the agreement.
Ghadhban said any decision relating to future OPEC cuts would depend on monitoring price developments.
Zanganeh, for his part, said US sanctions against Iran were “fully illegal” and Tehran would not comply with them.
“We believe that we should not comply with the illegal sanctions against Iran,” Zanganeh said.
Zanganeh also said Iran would not discuss the volume or destination of its oil exports while it remained under US sanctions.
“We have discussed today how to improve cooperation with Iraq on different aspects, especially on oil issues,” he said.
Zanganeh said Iran was ready to increase gas sales to its neighbor.