US to extend sanctions waiver for Iraq to import Iranian gas, electricity: report

TEHRAN, Feb. 10 (MNA) – The United States has signaled to Iraq its willingness to extend sanctions waivers enabling the country to continue importing vital Iranian gas and electricity imports, an American media quoted three Iraqi officials as saying this week.

According to Associated Press, the decision comes amid strained US-Iraqi ties following last month’s Washington-directed terrorist attack in Baghdad that killed high-profile Iranian general, Lieutenant General Qasem Soleimani, and a senior Iraqi leader, Abu Mehdi al-Muhandes.

A previous waiver, granted in October, is set to expire on Feb. 13. The three officials said the US State Department, which issues such waivers, has conveyed its readiness to extend the waiver for another three months "if Iraq is able to formulate a timeline by the end of the week, detailing a plan to wean itself off Iranian gas dependence."

“The American side has announced to us their readiness,” said one of the officials.

The officials interviewed are all senior members of Iraq’s government, including one who is close to the negotiations with the Americans, according to the report.

After the assassinations of the top commanders, the Iraqi parliament voted to oust US forces from the country.

Washington has responded to Iraq’s requests to initiate troop withdrawals with blatant refusal, even threatening primary sanctions that could cripple Iraq’s economy.

Iraq remains highly dependent on Iranian natural gas to meet electricity demands, especially during the scorching summer months when imports account for a third of consumption.

The waiver enables Iraq to avoid penalties while importing gas and electricity from Iran. It has been granted successively since November 2018, when the Trump administration re-imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran.

MNA/PR

News Code 155475

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