A plan to truck oil from Iraq’s northern Kirkuk fields to Iran cannot yet be put into operation because of unresolved security concerns, the Iranian secretary-general of the Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce told ISNA news agency on February 26.
“Iran is facing some problems in implementing the agreement given the security issues,” Hamid Hosseini was quoted as saying. “Iran does not have the X-ray machines needed to scan the trucks coming from Iraq,” he reportedly said, adding that said Iran was negotiating with Iraq to use their X-ray facilities..
The difficulty is yet another setback in Iran’s efforts to capitalise economically on its military efforts beyond its borders. In Syria, for instance, the failure of attempts to secure a reliable peace and a lack of investment capital have so far frustrated the realisation of lucrative contracts in the oil, telecommunications and other industries which Damascus has awarded the Iranians as a measure of gratitude for military assistance.
Baghdad and Tehran have agreed to swap up to 60,000 barrels per day of Kirkuk crude produced from Kirkuk for Iranian oil to be delivered to southern Iraq. Around 30,000 barrels per day is to be trucked to Iran’s Kermanshah refinery in the first instance.
To dispense with the need to use trucks for the oil transit, Iraq and Iran plan to build a pipeline to carry the oil from Kirkuk. It could take shipments that would otherwise go through an existing pipeline running from Kirkuk via Turkey to the Mediterranean.
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