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US grants Iraq another 30-day waiver to import Iranian energy

The United States has granted Iraq another sanctions waiver to import energy from Iran, despite ongoing tensions between Washington and Tehran.

An official inside the US State Department said on Sunday the US has granted Iraq another 30-day waiver to import Iranian electricity, Reuters reports.

“The Secretary [of State Mike Pompeo] granted this brief extension of the waiver to allow time for the formation of a credible government,” an unnamed State Department official told the wire agency.

The new waiver is scheduled to expire on May 26.

The last waiver was granted on March 27 and was due to expire on Monday.

This is the eighth and shortest waiver Iraq has been granted since the US reimposed sanctions on Iran in November 2018 after Washington withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, in May 2018.

The purpose of the waivers is to give Iraq time to gradually reduce its reliance on Iranian energy imports.

Iraq has suffered chronic power shortages since the 1990s, made worse by decades of war, sanctions, and terrorist attacks, leading to daily blackouts.

To make up for the shortage of domestic power production, Iraq has been importing Iranian electricity and gas to fire its power stations, much to the ire of Washington.

US patience seems to be running out.

The month-long waiver, compared to the 90- and 120-day waivers of the past, is a clear sign of renewed pressure from Washington. Source