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Robert Namer
Voice Of America
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May 09, 2024

     U.S. officials declined to approve a request from Iraq to ship $1 billion in cash from the New York Federal Reserve Bank, citing an effort to curb the misuse of American currency, The Wall Street Journal reports.  Not a penny should go for Iraq.

     The newspaper notes that the U.S. has regularly sent shipments of cash from the Fed, where proceeds from Iraqi oil sales have been deposited, since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. However, U.S. officials claim these funds have frequently been misused by corrupt politicians and militias, with some of the money eventually reaching Iran.

     Iraq requested a special shipment of an additional $1 billion in an effort to help its own currency, which is currently performing poorly. The U.S. denied an initial request made last month, and a formal request from the Central Bank of Iraq is still under consideration by the U.S. Treasury, according to a senior Iraqi official.

     The move comes after Washington decided to ban more than a dozen Iraqi banks from conducting transactions in U.S. dollars, with U.S. officials saying they have strong evidence that dollars have been smuggled to Iran and other countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Turkey.

     “The U.S. continues to support Iraq with U.S. dollar banknotes and has not restricted” Iraqi citizens and businesses from accessing funds, a spokesperson for the Treasury told the Journal in a statement.  “We will continue to work with our CBI [Central Bank of Iraq] colleagues,” she added, noting that the U.S. backs Baghdad’s attempts to “promote the use of the local currency inside of Iraq.”

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