Erbil, February 27 - Neftegaz.RU. Iraq’s semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan continues to keep oil exports and economic relations with Iran despite the U.S. sanctions on Tehran, a spokesperson for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has said.
«We cannot abandon our historic connection just because of a political decision,» KRG spokesperson Safin Dizayee said. Kurdistan and Iran have common economic, political, security and cultural interests and plans to honor all existing contracts but the decision is not entirely in the hands of the Kurdistan government, Dizayee said.
Nearly 2 weeks ago, the KRG ordered an immediate stop to all crude oil & refined oil product exports from Kurdistan to Iran, after complaints from the U.S. government which looks to tighten the sanctions on Tehran. At the end of last week, however, exports via tanker trucks from Kurdistan to Iran resumed after the KRG relaxed the initial export ban.
The KRG’s Ministry of Natural Resources issued on February 20 exceptions to the ban from the previous week, allowing exports of oil & oil products originating from Kurdistan to Iran to resume. The initial ban on all exports was the result of U.S. pressure on Kurdish officials to stop oil exports to Iran, a source close to the Iranians told Kurdish news outlet Rudaw last week.
An industry source who spoke to Rudaw on condition of anonymity also said that «American pressure was indeed behind the ban.» Meanwhile, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that the U.S. could extend the waivers (or some of those waivers) for Iranian oil customers to prevent extreme oil price volatility and high oil prices.