The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) decided May 4 to open an economic representative office in Iraq. The decision was made during a meeting bringing together executives at Iraq’s Oil Ministry and Iranian oil industry equipment producers, on the sidelines of the Iran Oil Show 2019.
Ramin Gholampour Dezfouli, NIOC’s director for support, construction and goods supply, said only Iranian companies approved by the NIOC will be able to partake in Iraqi Oil Ministry projects.
Since the second wave of the US sanctions against Iran in November, Tehran has focused its attention on promoting economic cooperation with Iraq to mitigate the US blockade’s impact on Iran’s economy. Nada Shaker, a member of the parliamentary committee of economy and investment, told Al-Monitor, “Iraq is also interested in expanding economic relations.” She added, “It is only normal for Iran to open an economic representative office in Iraq, given the strong cooperation in the oil sector between the two countries. [This cooperation] includes, for instance, exploration projects and having Iranian companies set up refineries, which has nothing to do with the sanctions,” she added.
Shaker said that “such offices are line with efforts to exempt Iraq from the oil and energy sanctions.”