Iraq has lost 150 billion dollars due to corruption: president
Iraqi President Bahram Salih televised address - Iraqi President Bahram Salih speaks during a televised address. Corruption has cost Iraq 150 billion dollars smuggled abroad since 2003, said Iraqi President Bahram Salih on Sunday. - -/Iraqi Presidency/dpa

Corruption has cost Iraq 150 billion dollars smuggled abroad since 2003, said Iraqi President Bahram Salih on Sunday.

Iraq is experiencing a deep economic crisis compounded by a fall in oil prices, the country's main source of income, and the coronavirus pandemic.

“The total value of Iraq's crude oil exports since 2003 until now has exceeded 1,000 billion dollars, while the scale of corruption is estimated at 150 billion dollars smuggled abroad through deals," Bahram said in a televised address without giving details.

He proposed setting up an international anti-corruption alliance, patterned after a multinational military coalition that fought Islamic State militants in Iraq and neighboring Syria.

“Corruption and terrorism are inter-related," Salih said.

He added that he had presented a draft bill to the Iraqi parliament to help retrieve money allegedly smuggled abroad through corruption.

Street protests have roiled Iraq since October 2019, with demonstrators calling for an end to corruption and an overhaul of the country's political system, which has been in place since the 2003 US-led invasion.

The protests calmed somewhat after a new government led by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi was formed in May last year and pledged reforms.