Iran says Iraq repaid $1.6 bln of gas debt

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Iran said on Thursday it has received $1.6 billion from Iraq to settle part of the debts it has sought from its neighbor since 2020 for the supply of gas.

“After months of negotiations, $1.6 billion in arrears... for gas exports to Iraq have been received,” Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji said, quoted by Shana news agency.

Baghdad had been scheduled to pay that amount to Tehran before the start of June.

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The debt dates back to 2020, but payment was stalled amid sanctions against Iran by the United States.

Tehran has repeatedly cut off gas supplies to force Baghdad to pay off its debts, which according to Shana amounted to $5 billion in September.

Iran’s deputy oil minister, Majid Chegeni, said last month that an agreement had been reached with Iraq for it to pay $1.6 billion in arrears by the end of May.

Despite its immense oil and gas reserves, Iraq remains dependent on imports to meet energy needs.

Iran provides a third of Iraq’s gas and electricity needs, but supplies are regularly cut or reduced, aggravating shortages caused by daily load shedding.

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