[ltr]2023.02.13 - 15:33[/ltr]
Baghdad - Nas
The Iranian newspaper Al-Sharq wrote that it has become difficult to find dollars in Iraq, "especially if the exchange knows that you are Iranian," and that travelers to Najaf face difficulties in obtaining American currency.
And the newspaper quoted in a report in today's issue (February 13, 2023), which was followed by "NAS", that an Iranian visitor mentioned that recently, with the help of one of his Iraqi friends, he managed to get about $100 with difficulty. "This is the experience of many Iranians who have gone to Iraq in recent weeks." ".
According to official reports and the Statistical Yearbook of the World Tourism Organization, Iraq is the second tourist destination for Iranians after Turkey, and until 2013, about 800,000 Iranians traveled to Iraq annually. According to official reports, more than two million Iranians make the pilgrimage to Iraq during the days of mourning for Imam Hussein in Karbala.
Besides, Iraq is one of Iran's largest trading partners, and the annual trade volume between the two countries is about $10 billion. Therefore, with the exception of the pilgrimage of Iranians to Iraq, a large number of Iranian businessmen travel to Iraq, but now the situation of Iranians traveling to Iraq is more difficult than ever, according to the newspaper, because Iranian visitors say they have encountered difficulties in buying foreign currency from the market of this country.
Mahdi Karmi Pour Moghadam, the former Secretary General of the Iraqi-Iranian Chamber, confirmed this and told "Sharq" that he had been traveling in Iraq recently, and even had many problems paying his taxi fare in this country.
He asserts that although he has a history of working in the Chamber of Commerce of Iran and Iraq and has many acquaintances among business activists in this country, he has faced many difficulties to secure a very small amount of dollars in this country and this situation is more complicated for ordinary travelers.
According to Karmipour, Iraqi exchange offices tell Iranian travelers that they are worried about the financial consequences and penalties for selling foreign currency to Iranian travelers and refusing to transfer currency to them.
Ali Shariati, another member of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce and a business activist in Iraq, also confirms this and says that he returned to Iran from a trip to Iraq yesterday, and explains to "Sharq": Iraq does not have an advanced banking system and about 95% of currency exchange operations in the country It is done by exchange bureaus, and now with the new banking regulations in this country, exchange bureaus are prohibited from selling currency without providing valid documents. For this reason, they do not easily fall under the burden of selling banknotes to any foreign visitor, especially Iranians."
Iraq seeks to join the Financial Action Task Force
Not long ago, the Wall Street Journal and French Le Figaro reported, citing US and Iraqi officials, that the United States imposed stricter restrictions on Iraqi private banks in order to reduce money laundering and prevent the illegal transfer of dollars to some sanctioned countries from Iraq, especially Iran. According to these reports, a US official told the Wall Street Journal that the purpose of this strict control is to prevent the transfer of dollars to Iran, Syria and Lebanon.
Ali Shariati, a member of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce and an Iraqi business activist, told the Iranian newspaper that the new restrictions on currency transfers in Iraq and the increasing inflation have faced a wide reaction from the Iraqis, and unfortunately in the Iraqi media. And cyberspace, Iran bears responsibility for these events, and they are demonstrating, and this prompted the Iraqis to take a stand against Iranian goods.
However, Ali Shariati believes that the issue of selling the currency to Iranian travelers and businessmen will be resolved in the future because the banking system in the country is being regulated and the Iraqis will organize their financial dealings with the Iranians by passing this stage.
According to this economic activist, some of the activities of Iranians in Iraq are carried out without a clear identity, and there is no registered company valid for such activities.
Shardi asserts that this group that does business in Iraq in a gray way will certainly face problems in the future and it will be difficult to evade sanctions in the Iraqi market, but Iranian companies with birth certificates and Iranian travelers with small expenses in foreign currency do not have a big problem in doing business. in Iraq in the future.
Shariati continues that Iraq is heading towards industrialization and regulating its legal and banking structures, and therefore the possibility of non-transparent economic activity in this difficult country will be difficult in the future.
Mehdi Karmipour also stressed that Iraq will have a good economic future and will no longer be an undisputed market for Iranian goods, which will be a great competitor to Iran in the future.
Reuters reported that, in addition to Iraq, the US Treasury made a similar request to the UAE, Turkey and the Sultanate of Oman to prevent Iran from evading banking sanctions and transferring currency to this country.
Iranian economic activists say it is difficult to avoid sanctions from the UAE and Turkey, and Iraq was a more important option for Iran in this regard.
And the report stated: “Iraqi media reports that Baghdad and the Central Bank of Iraq have agreed to join the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and this event can make it very difficult to transfer large amounts of money to Iran in the form of luggage and suitcases outside of transparent banking exchanges.” .
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