U.S. allows Iraq to import Iranian gas for more 3 months

Flames emerge from a pipeline at the oil fields in Basra, southeast of Baghdad, Iraq October 14, 2016. REUTERS/Essam Al-Sudani

Washington ( – The United States has allowed Iraq to import Iranian gas for its power grid for another three months by extending a waiver to U.S. sanctions for Baghdad, two government sources told Reuters on Saturday.

One of the sources, who asked not to be named, said the extension was given during a phone call between Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Iraq was first granted an exemption on Iranian electricity imports after Washington reimposed sanctions on Iran’s oil industry in November, citing concerns about its nuclear program and what it said was its meddling in the Middle East.

It has extended the waiver several times since then but has urged Iraq to develop its energy infrastructure to reduce reliance on Iranian energy.

Iraq relies heavily on Iranian gas to feed several power stations, importing roughly 1.5 billion standard cubic feet per day via pipelines in the south and east.

Washington wants to roll back Iranian influence in the Middle East, including in Iraq, where Iran holds broad sway over politics and trade.

Although Iraq has one of the world’s largest natural gas reserves, it has moved slowly to develop them and has relied on Iran to supply it with gas and electricity.

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