News ID: 277099
Published: 0334 GMT November 21, 2020

US extends Iraq sanctions waiver to import Iranian gas

US extends Iraq sanctions waiver to import Iranian gas
Vahid Salemi/AP
A natural gas refinery at the South Pars gas field in southern city of Asaluyeh in Bushehr Province

Washington has granted Iraq a shortened 45-day sanctions waiver to import Iranian gas that will expire days before US President Donald Trump's term ends, an Iraqi official said Saturday.

Baghdad buys gas and electricity from its neighbor Iran to supply about a third of its power sector, worn down by years of conflict and poor maintenance, AFP reported.

The US blacklisted Iran’s energy industry in late 2018 but granted Baghdad a series of temporary waivers, hoping Iraq would wean itself off Iranian energy by partnering with US firms.

The lengths of the exemptions have become a key tool in US policy towards Iraq, demonstrating the level of satisfaction or frustration with Baghdad.

In May, Washington granted Iraq a four-month extension as a gesture of goodwill towards Mustafa al-Kadhimi, the Iraqi prime minister.

But when it renewed the waiver in late September, the Trump administration gave Iraq just 60 days.

This time, it went even shorter: 45 days, a top Iraqi official told AFP, expiring around a week before Trump is set to hand over the White House to President-elect Joe Biden.

“They (the Trump administration) wanted a last opportunity to have a say,” the official said.

And two Iraqi officials have said they expect a “bucket list of sanctions” against Iranian interests in Iraq ahead of the White House handover.



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