Iraq's Abadi to visit Iran, Turkey amid US tensions

Iraq's Abadi to visit Iran, Turkey amid US tensions
Iraq's leader Haider al-Abadi will visit Turkey and Iran, amid the two countries' recent tensions with the US.
2 min read
11 August, 2018
Abadi will visit Iraq's two neighbours amid tensions with the US [Getty]

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi will visit neighbours Turkey and Iran next week, as the US issues new sanctions on Tehran and amid Washington's "economic war" with Ankara.

"[Abadi] will head to Turkey on Tuesday and Iran on Wednesday to discuss economic affairs with the two countries," the official told AFP on Saturday.

Iraq is a close trading partner with Turkey and Iran, with Baghdad the second-largest importer of Iranian non-hydrocarbon products.

Iraq spent around $6 billion worth of goods from Iran in 2017.

It's also a major buyer of Iranian-generated electricity, following months of protests at energy cuts. 

Abadi agreed to comply with new US sanctions against Tehran but voiced strong reservations about the measures.

"We don't support the sanctions because they are a strategic error, but we will comply with them," Abadi said. 

Iraq has strong ties with both Iran and the US, and has tried to balance its relationship between the two parties which in recent years have been at each other's throats.

Abadi's visit to Ankara is also overshadowed by a bitter row between Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his US counterpart Donald Trump.

The US announced on Friday it was doubling steel and aluminium tariffs on Turkey as part of an ongoing row over the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson and other issues.

This led to the Turkish lira dropping by 16 percent against the dollar on Friday to record lows.