Top Iraqi Officials: US to Extend Iran Sanctions Waiver
The United States has indicated its willingness to extend sanctions waivers another three months, enabling Iraq to continue importing Iranian gas and electricity, three senior members of Iraq’s government said this week. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity. “The American side has announced to us their readiness,” said one of the officials. A previous waiver will expire on February 13. The extensions will be conditioned on Iraq formulating a plan to wean itself off Iranian gas. Currently, Iraq is highly dependent on Iranian natural gas to generate electricity, especially during the summer when imports account for a third of consumption. Baghdad buys about 1,300 megawatts of electricity and 28 million cubic meters of natural gas daily from Iran to feed power plants. The new waivers are considered to be a sign of better relations between Washington and Baghdad, which were strained last month when the US launched an airstrike near the Baghdad airport that killed the Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani and senior Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Iraq’s parliament responded to the airstrike by demanding the withdrawal of US troops from the country, which the US has ignored.