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Iran says unrest in neighboring Iraq caused exports to decline

An Iranian business leader says exports to neighboring Iraq have decreased over the past two months amid escalated protests across the Arab country.

Seyyed Hamid Hosseini, who serves as the secretary general of Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce, said on Saturday that the total value of exports to Iraq between March and October this year had declined by $540 million compared to the similar period in 2018.

He said protests and riots that began in Iraq since early October was a main reason for the plummeting exports figures as he insisted that the value of Iranian shipments sent to the Arab country had increased year-on-year in the first six months of the Iranian calendar year ending on September 23.

Borders are open, movement continues and exports keep going on but recession in the Iraqi market and insecurity has affected the shipments and have caused our exports to decline, said Hosseini in an interview with the Fars news agency.

What was initially a peaceful protest movement against corruption in Iraq has now turned into violent clashes and rioting in major cities across the country. More than 400 people have been killed in the riots which authorities in Baghdad blame on certain foreign governments.

Iraq is a major trade partner for Iran with authorities aiming to reach a target of $20 billion in Iran's exports to the Arab country in a near future.

Hossini said exports to Iraq in the first seven months of the Iranian calendar year ending October 23 had topped $5.117 billion, down more than 11 percent compared to the last year.

He said, however, that demand for Iranian goods and services in Iraq's semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan had surged after Turkey, a main exporter to the region, began its all-out military intervention into Kurdish-dominated areas in neighboring Syria last month.

Source: Press TV

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