US extends Iraq waivers but tightens Iran sanctions

TEHRAN, Mar. 27 (MNA) – The US has once again extended a waiver allowing Iraq to import Iranian electricity and natural gas, but at the same time intensified its sanctions against Iran despite the coronavirus pandemic which has infected over 30,000 Iranians.

Morgan Ortagus, a US State Department spokeswoman, said in a statement on Thursday that “Iraq is permitted to engage in financial transactions related to the import of electricity from Iran” under a US-issued sanctions waiver.

"The purpose of this waiver, which the United States is renewing today, is to meet the immediate energy needs of the Iraqi people,” she added.

The extension is for 30 days, the shortest extension yet for Iraq, and will be the last extension issued, according to AFP.

The US, at the same time, imposed new sanctions against 20 entities based in Iran and Iraq. Ortagus claimed that these entities were exploiting Iraq's dependence on Iran as an electricity source.

Over the past week, the international community has been making calls on the US to lift the illegal sanctions, which have hampered Tehran’s access to lifesaving medical supplies as the country is trying to contain the coronavirus and help treat the patients.

Meanwhile, Iran has roundly denounced the US claims for sending aid as hypocritical, saying if the US genuinely sought to help, it should lift its sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic.

According to Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour, 2,926 new cases of infection were confirmed in the 24 hours to Friday noon. He said 144 people also died in the 24-hour period, increasing the death toll to 2,378. 

The spokesman said the total number of confirmed cases now stands at 32,332, out of whom 11,133 have recovered and been discharged from hospital.


News Code 157062


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