Iraq’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fuad Hussein, has urged the United States to reconsider the sanctions imposed on Iraqi banks that provide financing for essential food items to families with limited incomes. The appeal was made during a recent phone call between Minister Hussein and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, where they discussed the latest regional developments.
In a statement released by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Wednesday, Minister Hussein underscored the detrimental impact of the sanctions on Iraqi banks, particularly those aimed at supporting vulnerable families. He also addressed the recent attacks by the US on military and civilian sites in Iraq, emphasizing the Iraqi government’s firm opposition to such actions and the necessity of preventing further escalation.
Minister Hussein highlighted the importance of halting these attacks to maintain Iraq’s stability and prevent it from becoming entangled in conflicts between other nations. He emphasized the imperative of returning to negotiations through established channels, such as the High Military Committee meetings, to address concerns and foster cooperation.
Both parties emphasized the significance of bolstering the strategic partnership between Iraq and the United States and maintaining coordination to address the escalating challenges in the region. The dialogue comes amid heightened tensions and concerns over security and stability in Iraq and the broader Middle East.
Recent sanctions imposed by Iraq on eight local commercial banks, barring them from conducting transactions in US dollars, are seen as a measure to curb fraud, money laundering, and illicit use of US currency. These banks are now prohibited from participating in the daily US dollar auction held by the Central Bank of Iraq, a crucial source of hard currency for the country.
Iraq’s decision follows previous actions by the United States, including barring 14 Iraqi banks from conducting US dollar transactions as part of efforts to disrupt the flow of funds to sanctioned countries like Iran. These steps underscore ongoing efforts to limit Iran’s access to international financial networks and prevent the smuggling of money into sanctioned regions. Iraq remains hopeful for a resolution with the United States that considers the country’s economic interests and stability while addressing broader regional challenges.