Iraqi officials fear the country’s economy will “collapse” if the Trump administration imposes sanctions that include blocking access to a U.S.-based account where Baghdad keeps oil revenues, the AFP reported on Monday.

These revenues in question sustain some 90 percent of the Iraqi national budget, according to the report.

The Iraqi parliament voted on Jan. 5 to remove all foreign forces from the country, including around 5,200 American troops, following the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by the United States on Jan. 3.

In response, an enraged U.S. President Donald Trump threatened that if Iraq went through with the move, “We will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before,” according to the report.

“[Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdel Mahdi] got a call threatening that if U.S. troops are kicked out, ‘we’—the U.S.—will block your account at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York,” an Iraqi official told AFP. “We’re an oil-producing country. Those accounts are in dollars. Cutting off access means totally turning off the tap,” added the official.

A second Iraqi official said that if this were to happen, “it would mean collapse for Iraq.”

According to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1483, which lifted sanctions and the oil embargo on Iraq after the fall of former leader Saddam Hussein, all oil sales revenues go to the Central Bank of Iraq’s account at the Fed, the report noted.

The Iraqi prime minister “was pissed and insulted,” one official told AFP, while another said that if the United States made good on the threat, it would “lose Iraq.”

Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision

JNS is more than just another news website and syndication service. It is an organization devoted to nonstop reporting, and telling the truth about Israel and Jewish issues unburdened by the biases and institutional blinders that distort so much of what we read, hear and see about these topics elsewhere in the secular and even Jewish press.

At JNS, you get the facts about Israel and Jewish issues without the bias that so often tilts the argument against the Jewish state. JNS articles and columns are republished every week by digital outlets and print newspapers across the globe. But in the age of round-the-clock news coverage, advertising and syndication revenues are not enough to support our continued growth. We need your financial help to keep JNS on target as we continue our fair and accurate reporting.

Please help us take JNS to the next level with a tax-deductible sponsorship, either on a recurring monthly basis. Jewish News Syndicate is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.