Baghdad, London-Iraqis, particularly those living in the southern city of Basra, were surprised on Wednesday when Iran cut off electricity supplies to the country, deepening their sufferings in light of high temperatures reaching 48 degrees.
Despite providing some power later in the day, spokesperson of the Iraqi Electricity Ministry Mohammed Fathi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Iranian measures were taken without prior notifications.
Fathi also said that Iran was cutting off electricity because Iraq has been delaying the payment of its loans to Tehran, which amount to a total of $700 million.
“The more we pay some of the money we owe, the more Iranians provide us with partial electricity,” he said.
Fathi asserted that Iranians cut off power although the Iraqi Electricity Ministry had paid its Iranian counterpart a sum of $100 million two months ago.
Iraq currently produces around 12,000 Megawatts of electricity, and gets around 800 Megawatts from Iran. However the overall power Iraq needs is 16,000 Megawatts.
Fathi said: “Iraq will abandon the Iranian line if its production of electricity reaches 15,000 Megawatts.”
An Iraqi source, who wished to remain anonymous, told Asharq Al-Awsat that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi agreed during a meeting with Electricity Minister Alaa Dishr to offer Iran’s Electricity Ministry a sovereign bond to pay all previous loans, a matter which would further submerge Iraq into Iranian loans.
In the sector of non-oil products, Iraq remains the number one partner of Iran for importing 72 percent of its materials from Iran.
Tehran is also a partner in 27 projects for producing electricity worth $1.245 billion.