Importing Iran's electricity not subjected to sanctions yet US grants waiver!

TEHRAN, May 01 (MNA) – US has granted waivers to Iraq to buy Iran’s electricity several times over the 90-day period so far, following the re-imposition of US sanctions against Iran.

Reviewing US sanctions laws against Iran shows no sign of boycotting the electricity sector.

Following the return of US sanctions against Iran, US announced that it would grant waivers to Iraq to buy electricity from Iran, and despite the return of sanctions, Iraq would not face with problem to import electricity from Iran. Of course, the US waivers were temporary for Iraq, which has been extended for 90-day periods so far. For example, on 21 December, 2018, the spokesman of US Secretary of States announced that a 90-day waiver was granted to allow Iraq to continue to pay for electricity imports from Iran, which was renewed again in March 2019 for 90 days.

Of course, US government has gained advantages in return for granting these waivers to Iraq. For example, after granting waivers to Iraq in December 2018, the media indicated Americans' desire to increase military presence in Iraq. Heather Nauert, the spokeswoman of US Secretary of State in November 2018 announced that the precondition for Iraq’s waiver is dissolving Iraqi Shia groups and taking back their weapons. 

Is importing Iran’s electricity sanctioned?

It is interesting to know that studying the US sanctions law shows none of the US sanctions laws against Iran include sanctions on Iran's electricity exports to other countries. It seems that by raising the issue of waivers the US is going to obtain concessions from Iraq in terms of politics and military. Also, the waivers will be subjected to an increase of Iraqi oil exports from Kirkuk to compensate for the decrease of Iran’s oil exports in the market.

US sanctions against Iran's energy sector do not even include Iran’s electricity industry, and only involve the sanctions on oil, petroleum, gas and petrochemicals production or export. This is clearly reflected in the US Department of Treasury's questions and answers in defining sanctions on Iran’s energy sector.

According to question no. 293, regarding IFCA section which somehow aggregate, modify and increase of all sanctions on Iran’s oil, energy and banking; energy sector of Iran to include activities involving exploration, extraction, production, refinement, or liquefaction of petroleum, natural gas, or petroleum products in Iran. According to questions no. 254, 295 and 297, sanctions include Iran’s ability to export oil, petroleum products, natural gas or petrochemicals. Nothing has been written about sanctions against Iranian electricity industry or Iran's electricity export in any documents of US sanctions against Iran.

Is paying for Iran’s electricity Sanctioned?

Another issue is to grant waivers to allow Iraq to pay for electricity imports from Iran. But reviewing the sanctions shows that the exemption in this section is also meaningless as paying for electricity imports from Iran is not included in US sanctions. First of all, As Iran couldn't settle its accounts in dollar even before the US withdrawal from the JCPOA due to the expiration of U-turn permission at the end of 2008. So no waiver has been granted in this regard. The president of the Central Bank of Iraq also acknowledged that the dollar settlement had not been possible with Iran in previous years. Secondly, the major banking sanctions against Iran were imposed in section 1247 of the IFCA Act which indicates that imposition of sanctions to foreign financial institutions that facilitate financial transaction on behalf of specially designated nationals; unless a transaction has been conducted with the Iranian financial institution which not include US terrorist, proliferation or human rights sanctions and they are on the list of US sanction only because they are Iranians.

Therefore, since many Iranian financial institutions and banks which are not subject to US terrorist, proliferation or human rights sanctions and they are on the list of US sanction only because they are Iranians. So they are not prohibited under the most severe US banking sanctions and can settle banking transactions for exporting Iranian electricity to Iraq in different other currencies except dollar and also Iraqi banks have no sanctions restrictions to work with Iranians.

In conclusion, US sanctions do not include Iran's electricity industry or electricity export. The activities of Iraqi banks for transaction with Iranian financial institutions are not subjected to US sanctions under the pretext of US terrorism, proliferation and human rights sanctions. In fact, US is obtaining concessions, by granting waivers for the sanction that don't exist in fact.

News Code 144756

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