US grants Iraq sanc­tions waiver to buy elec­tric­ity from neigh­bor­ing Iran

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

The United States has granted Iraq a waiver to al­low it to keep im­port­ing elec­tric­ity from neigh­bor­ing Iran de­spite re­newed Amer­i­can sanc­tions on Tehran, a US of­fi­cial said Wed­nes­day.

Bagh­dad re­lies heav­ily on Tehran to pro­vide it nat­u­ral gas and Ira­nian-gen­er­ated elec­tric­ity, and feared that sup­ply would be en­dan­gered by Wash­ing­ton’s mea­sures against Iran’s en­ergy sec­tor.

The US State De­part­ment’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive on Iran said Wed­nes­day that Iraq had been granted a spe­cial per­mis­sion.

“We granted Iraq a waiver to al­low it to con­tinue to pay for its elec­tric­ity im­ports from Iran. We are con­fi­dent that this will help Iraq limit elec­tric­ity short­ages in the south,” Brian Hook told re­porters in Wash­ing­ton.

“Iraq is a friend and a part­ner, and we are com­mit­ted to its sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity.”

Iraq is now ex­pected to demon­strate to the US how it would wean it­self off Ira­nian gas, a well-in­formed Iraqi source told AFP.

“The US gave us 45 days to give them a plan on how we will grad­u­ally stop us- ing Ira­nian gas and oil,” the source said.

On Mon­day, the United States re-im­posed tough sanc­tions on Iraq’s fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, ship­ping lines, en­ergy sec­tor, and petroleum prod­ucts.

Iraq has a strong re­la­tion­ship with the United States, co­or­di­nat­ing on se­cu­rity, pol­i­tics and gover­nance.

But its econ­omy is pro­foundly in­ter­twined with that of Iran, from which it im­ports con­sumer goods amount­ing to around $6 bil­lion in 2017.

It also pipes in nat­u­ral gas and 1,300 megawatts of Ira­nian-gen­er­ated elec­tric- ity to cope with power short­ages.

Most of Iraq’s 39 mil­lion peo­ple only get a few hours of state-pro­vided elec­tric­ity per day and rely on power gen­er­a­tors.

Chronic power out­ages were a key driv­ing fac­tor be­hind weeks of mas­sive protests in south­ern Iraq dur­ing the sum­mer.

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