Thank you, Tehran

Through all the difficulties in Iraq, people look now to Iran, not the U.S., for a better life. Why?

The average house in Baquba, capital of Diyala province north of Baghdad, has less than 12 hours of electricity a day. “I cannot exclude electricity from my thinking; when I think of making any plans, I have to factor the lack of electricity,” says local shopkeeper Abdullah Salim.

With temperatures soaring to 55C, lack of fans and air coolers can put people’s health, and businesses, at risk.

“We cannot work without electricity, because generators are not dependable,” Salman Taha, who owns a mechanics workshop, told IPS.

“When I decided to purchase an updated model of my bakery, I did not think of electricity,” says Mahmood al-Mujamaee. “I could not operate it at all because of the inconsistency of electricity; the bakery needs stable power. It cost around 45,000 dollars. Now, I’m ready to sell for 20,000 dollars.”

But bad as it is, the situation has been improving over the past four months – with Iran’s assistance. The Bush administration and western companies like Bechtel have failed to deliver on promises to improve infrastructure.

“Now, the province gets power from Iran under a contract signed about two years ago between the Iraqi government and Iran,” Naseer Milmy, an employee with the directorate-general of electricity told IPS.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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