The United States has granted Iraq a waiver to allow it to continue purchasing and importing electricity from its sanction-worn neighbour Iran.
Baghdad purchases much of its electricity and natural gas from Iran, making it heavily reliant on the country for a sufficient supply of its energy essentials. The revamped sanctions slammed down on Iran by the US earlier this week and its subsequent warning to those who trade with the country caused Iraq to fearful it would be unable to obtain the supplies it needs.
Those fears were allayed yesterday when US State Department representative on Iran Brian Hook told reporters in Washington: “We granted Iraq a waiver to allow it to continue to pay for its electricity imports from Iran. We are confident that this will help Iraq limit electricity shortages in the south.”
Hook added that “Iraq is a friend and a partner, and we are committed to its stability and prosperity.”
Despite the waiver, the US now expects Iraq to seek a way to stop relying on Iranian energy within a month and a half. An anonymous Iraqi source informed Agence France-Presse (AFP) that “the US gave us 45 days to give them a plan on how we will gradually stop using Iranian gas and oil.”
The US and Iraq enjoy a strong relationship and cooperate on issues such as governance, security and politics. Economically, however, Iraq is very much intertwined with Iran and relies on it for many things including food and energy, receiving 1,300MW of electricity in order to cope with power shortages.
Iraq’s population of 39 million receive only a few hours of electricity per day and rely on generators, which was the primary cause of the protests in the south of the country over the summer.