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Abadi cancels trip to Iran, following Tehan anger at Iraq's stance on US sanctions

Abadi has been given a red light for his planned visit to Iran [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 12 August, 2018

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Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has cancelled a trip to Iran next week, after Tehran was reportedly angered by the premier's stance on US sanctions.
Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has been forced to cancel a visit to Iran, after Tehran was reportedly angered by the premier's stance on US sanctions.

On Saturday it emerged that Abadi was planning to trips to  both Iran and Turkey, in the face of US economic measures against Iraq's neighbours.

Abadi's tour was supposed to see leaders address key economic issues, as Iran faces new sanctions from Washington and Ankara was hit by a plunging lira, when the US doubled tariffs on certain Turkish imports on Friday.

Abadi though, careful to balance his relationship with Iran and the US, said that although he did not agree with the sanctions on Tehran he would reluctantly abide by them.

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

"In general, sanctions are unjust," he added, likely mindful of past US sanctions on Iraq, during the rule of Saddam Hussein.

This concession clearly angered Iran, with sources telling AFP that Abadi was no longer welcome in the country, after the president's remarks.

Moujtaba al-Hussein, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's representative in Baghdad, also lashed out at Abadi.

"These irresponsible remarks have already been condemned by many people. It's a disloyal attitude towards the honest position of Iran and the blood of the martyrs this country has spilt to defend the land of Iraq [against the Islamic State group]," said Hussein.

"We are saddened by this position which shows he has been defeated psychologically in the face of the Americans," he said.
President Donald Trump announced earlier this year that the US was withdrawing from a nuclear deal with Iran, while new sanctions on Tehran were implemented this week.

The move has worsened the economic situation in Iran, where many were hoping the improving relations with the west would bring prosperity and jobs.

Iran's foreign ministry, however, has not yet confirmed that Abadi's visit has been cancelled, according to AFP.

"So far [we have] not received any official news or information whatsoever about this trip", the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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