Washington — The United States granted Iraq a 90-day waiver exempting it from sanctions to buy energy from Iran, a State Department official said on Wednesday, the latest extension allowing Baghdad to keep importing Iranian gas that is critical for power production.
The official said the waiver was granted on Tuesday. The last waiver for Iraq to be exempt from U.S. sanctions on Iran was granted on Dec. 21.
The Trump administration reimposed sanctions on Iran’s energy exports in November, citing its nuclear programme and meddling in the Middle East, but has granted waivers to several buyers to meet consumer energy needs.
“While this waiver is intended to help Iraq mitigate energy shortages, we continue to discuss our Iran-related sanctions with our partners in Iraq,” the State Department official said on condition of anonymity.
Iraq relies heavily on Iranian gas to feed its power stations, importing roughly 1.5 billion standard cubic feet per day via pipelines in the south and east.
Washington has said it wants to roll back Iranian influence in the Middle East, including in Iraq, where Iran holds broad sway over politics and trade.
“We are also continuing to work with Iraq to end its dependence on Iranian natural gas and electricity and increase its energy independence,” the State Department official said.