TEHRAN – Iran and Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government have signed an oil and natural gas trade agreement.
Former Iranian oil minister Rostam Qasemi — who is currently the country’s representative for trade relations with Iraq — and KRG Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami signed the deal on Sunday in the KRG capital Irbil, according to the Mehr News Agency.
The agreement calls for the construction of two pipelines between Iran and the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.
According to the agreement, the KRG would receive between 3 and 4 million liters of refined fuel oil and natural gas in return for sending crude oil to Iran.
Win-win deal will end fuel smuggling
The agreement between Iran and the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government will be a win-win deal since it will curb the rampant fuel smuggling across the borders between Iran and the KRG, energy expert Mahmoud Khaqani told the Mehr News Agency.
“In recent years, crude oil has been smuggled from the Kurdish region of northern Iraq via Iran,” Khaqani said.
In May 2013, Alireza Zeighami, the former Iranian deputy oil minister for refining and distribution, said a lucrative cross-border business of smuggling fuel and goods via Iran has emerged, bolstered by a sharp drop in the value of the Iranian currency.
Fuel, especially diesel, is being illegally transferred out of the country through cities bordering Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkey, Zeighami said.