EghtesadOnline: The United States has granted Iraq a 45-day sanctions waiver enabling the country to continue importing vital Iranian gas and electricity supplies.
In a statement Wednesday, according to Financial Tribune, the US State Department said the waiver “ensures that Iraq is able to meet its short-term energy needs while it takes steps to reduce its dependence on Iranian energy imports.”
The US has applied stringent sanctions on Iran that punish any country trading with it, AP reported.
The issuance of the waiver came amid fraught US-Iraq ties following an American drone strike that killed the top Iranian Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, near Baghdad airport on January 3.
Washington had expressed willingness to extend the sanctions waiver, which was due to expire this week, Iraqi officials told the Associated Press, on the condition that Iraq provides a timeline detailing a plan to wean itself off of Iranian gas dependence. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak publicly about the matter.
The new waiver gives Iraq just 45 days to show Americans that it is making good on conditions to boost domestic gas supply or find alternative sources for power, and lessen its reliance on Iran. The previous waiver, issued in October, had given Iraq 120 days.
A senior Iraqi official with knowledge of sanctions negotiations with the US said the period could be extended again once Iraq submits a technical timetable detailing how it plans to meet gas independence.