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US renews sanctions waiver for Iraq to import Iranian energy

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Washington extends Iraq sanction waiver so the country can continue to import energy from Iran.

The United States has allowed Iraq to continue to import gas and electricity from Iran until the start of December as part of Washington’s temporary waivers from sanctions imposed on Iran since 2018.

An Iraqi official told the AFP news agency on Wednesday that the new sanction waiver had taken effect last week.

The new four-month waiver comes just after a visit to Washington by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi.

Iraqi government officials have been pressing the US to renew the waivers as the Arab country is heavily reliant on Iran to respond to a growing demand for energy.

That comes as Iran has continued to supply gas and electricity to Iraq in recent years despite Baghdad’s failure to pay its energy arrears.

Exports have declined slightly in recent months both because of the arrears and also because of an unexpected surge in demand for energy inside Iran.

Iraqi authorities have urged Iran to restore normal gas supplies while waiting for a solution on the issue of arrears. That comes as terrorist attacks on electricity transmission lines in Iraq have caused more power cuts in the country in recent weeks.

Supplies from Iran currently account for almost a third of demand for electricity in Iraq, a country where many power plants rely on Iranian gas to generate electricity.

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