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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

25 May 2004

Iraq Inaugurates International Postal Center and Postal Codes System

CPA press release May 25

Following is the text of a press release from the Coalition Provisional Authority May 25 announcing Iraq's international postal service center and new postal codes system:

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Contact: Sam Whitfield
Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Iraqi Postal Service Announces the Opening of the International Service Center and Introduces the New Iraqi Postal Code System

Baghdad, Iraq -- Dr. Haider Al Abadi, Iraq's Minister of Communication, and Ibraheem Hussien Ali, Iraq's Postmaster General, announced the opening of the International Service Center and the introduction of Iraq's new Postal Code system in a ceremony at the Baghdad International Airport air cargo terminal today.

International Service Center

The International Service Center (ISC) will play a vital role in rebuilding the economy of Iraq through encouraging international commerce by creating a worldwide gateway for mail entering and exiting the country. The ISC enables Iraq to have greater access and quicker delivery to global goods and services, which will improve the quality of life for the Iraqi people. The ISC facility, located at the Baghdad International Airport, will serve as the primary recipient for (inbound) and dispatch for (outbound) international mail operating under the established arrangements of the Universal Postal Union (UPU). Iraq's membership in the UPU will ensure coordination of postal policies with the worldwide postal system. The benefits of the ISC and membership in the UPU are important to all of Iraq and businesses operating within, as it facilitates the ability to send and receive international mail with countries from around the world.

Iraq's Postal Code

In 1991 and 2003, Iraq developed a Postal Code system which was not widely utilized. Both attempts tried to identify the street or delivery address, along with the Province and post office. Unfortunately, these attempts had built-in limitations that would not allow for expansion and were much more complex than necessary.

In 2004, Iraq's Postmaster General, Mr. Ibraheem Hussien Ali, and CPA/MoC postal advisors initiated an effort to correct and modernize the Iraqi Postal Code system. The Iraqi Post team developed a comprehensive Postal Code numbering system to better serve the Iraqi people. After agreeing to several modifications of the five-digit Postal Code the team met the principal objectives: to expedite the processing, transportation, delivery, and economics of the mail system. A few of the major benefits of using a coding system is the increase in the security of the mail due to the reduction in hand sorting and a quicker more accurate delivery to the customer.

Adoption of a comprehensive Postal Code is the first step toward address standardization and automated sortation. Keeping the design simple and flexible will allow for the future growth of mail distribution in Iraq. The new Postal Code will utilize a simple five (5) digit scheme that identifies geographic region, Province and each post office within the Provinces. At the post office level, the Postal Code will identify a post office box (box-line) or business holdout.

The most important revision to Iraq's Postal Code system is that the five digits would only be utilized on the bottom line of the address block. This simple scheme allows for future growth without completely changing or modifying the system. The specific address of delivery line (second line in address block) was resolved utilizing a simple address delivery scheme. Both the second and third lines of the address block will have different schemes or format rules.

Postal Code Example

-- The first digit is the geographic region of the country
-- The second identifies the Province
-- The third identifies the type of delivery
(0=street, 1= PO Box, 2-9= Assigned to large businesses)
-- The last two digits identify the specific post office

Specific Postal Codes can be reserved for government and large business use. The system is also designed to incorporate future modernization of the Iraqi Post and Savings by automating the letter and flat processes. Within the City of Baghdad, the post office name (neighborhood) is used in lieu of the city name.

Key Benefits of Postal Codes

-- Facilitates emergency response of fire, police, and EMT services.
-- Straightforwardness of sorting: Regions, Provinces, Governorates, Districts, Cities and individual post offices.
-- Reduces missorts and misdeliveries.
-- Facilitates the processing, transporting, and delivery of mail.
-- Improves the speed and reliability of service.
-- Increases security, quality, and productivity of the entire process.
-- Adaptable to automation and bar-coding.
-- Increases economy of scale with volume growth.
-- International recognition - Iraq's Postal Code will be incorporated into the Universal Postal Union's (UPU) database.

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(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

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