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US Grants Iraq 45-Day Waiver Over Iran Sanctions to Purchase Natural Gas, Electricity

US Grants Iraq 45-Day Waiver Over Iran Sanctions to Purchase Natural Gas, Electricity

Sunday, 11 November, 2018 - 08:30
A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oilfields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in Iran, July 25, 2005. File Photo (Reuters)
Baghdad - Asharq Al-Awsat
Iraq confirmed that the United States gave it an exception to the strict sanctions imposed on Iran in order to continue to buy Iranian natural gas and electricity, however, Baghdad has been silent about a US announcement to reduce the grace period.

On Saturday, US Embassy in Baghdad announced that Iraq will be permitted to purchase energy from Iran until the end of December.

“The United States has given Iraq a temporary relief from the sanctions for 45 days to continue purchasing natural gas and electricity from Iran,” officials from the Embassy said in a Facebook video.

“This relief gives Iraq time to start taking steps towards energy independence,” the video said.

While no official statement was issued by Iraqi authorities on the announcement, a source told Asharq al-Awsat, that Iraq imports 14 million cubic meters of gas from Iran, as well as 1300 MW of electricity indicating that if the grace period was not extended, Iraq can do nothing after 45 days.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source noted that gas projects need years to address the crisis and therefore, the time granted is not enough, both on the level of natural gas and electricity, which he believes, puts Iraq in an impending crisis.

Iraq central bank officials said in August that the country’s economy is so closely linked to Iran that Baghdad would ask Washington for exemptions from some of the sanctions, Reuters reported.

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