TEHURAN (Dispatches) - The United States has reportedly granted another waiver from sanctions to Iraq to let the Arab country import electricity and gas from neighboring Iran and pay for electricity purchases within a four-month period.
"The U.S. has granted a 120-day waiver to allow Iraq to pay for electricity imports from Iran,” Louisa Loveluck, the Baghdad bureau chief for the American daily newspaper Washington Post, wrote in a post published on her Twitter page on Wednesday, citing an unnamed U.S. administration spokesman.
She added that the new exemption is longer than the previous ones, and is the first granted to Iraq under the administration of new U.S. President Joe Biden.
Washington has repeatedly extended the waiver for Baghdad to import Iranian gas and electricity and use the crucial energy supplies for its struggling power grid.
Iraq relies heavily on Iranian gas to feed several power plants across the country, while Iranian electricity exports also account for a major part of the country’s power supply.
Gas imports from Iran generate as much as 45 percent of Iraq’s 14,000 megawatts of electricity consumed daily.
Besides importing 38 million cubic meters of Iran’s natural gas to power its electricity generation, Iraq buys 1200-1500 megawatts a day of electricity from the Islamic Republic.
In addition to natural gas and electricity, Iraq imports a wide range of goods from Iran including food, agricultural products, home appliances, and air conditioners.
Former U.S. president Donald Trump’s administration blacklisted Iran’s energy industry in late 2018 following its unilateral withdrawal from a multilateral nuclear deal over the Iranian nuclear program.
It also put pressure on Iraq to make itself less dependent on Iran’s gas and electricity, but Iraqi leaders say the demand is a bar set too high given the Arab country’s state of infrastructure which is still badly battered decades after the U.S. invasion and sanctions and economic decline.
The U.S. has been enlisting American companies and allies such as Saudi Arabia to replace Iran as Iraq’s source of energy, and drive a commercial wedge between Baghdad and Tehran.