WASHINGTON- Iraq has been helping Iran skirt economic sanctions imposed because of its nuclear program, using a network of financial institutions and oil-smuggling operations that are providing Tehran with a crucial flow of dollars, The New York Times
reported on Saturday.
In some cases, Iraqi government officials are turning a blind eye to trade with Iran, while other officials in Baghdad are directly profiting from the activities -- with several of them having close ties to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, the Times
said.US President Barack Obama acknowledged the problem last month when he barred a small Iraqi bank, the Elaf Islamic Bank, from any dealings with the American banking system, the newspaper said.
At the time, the president said that the bank had "facilitated transactions worth millions of dollars on behalf of Iranian banks that are subject to sanctions for their links to Iran's illicit proliferation activities."