‘Iraq seeking exemption from U.S. sanctions to continue Iran’s gas imports’

December 13, 2018

TEHRAN- Iraq will send a delegation to the United States seeking an exemption from sanctions against Iran that would allow it to keep importing Iranian gas, Reuters reported quoting Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi as saying on Tuesday.

Washington gave Iraq a 45-day waiver for imports of gas from Iran when it reimposed sanctions on Iran’s oil sector on November 5.

“The American side is cooperating with Iraq to find solutions that would remove pressure on Iraq because the (Iranian) gas is linked to a very sensitive issue which is electricity,” Abdul Mahdi told a news conference.

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

Iran is currently exporting 25 million cubic meters (mcm) of gas per day to Bagdad and 5 mcm to Basra, although, based on the deals between the two countries, Iran was to supply 35 mcm of gas on a daily basis to the capital Bagdad [gradually in three phases] while up to 25 mcm of gas per day was supposed to be exported to Basra.

Hayan Abdul Ghani, head of Iraqi state-run South Gas Co. (SGC), said last week, “Iraq’s current production of gas is not enough to meet our power stations’ demand and therefore we are still importing gas from Iran. We need at least 24 months to operate new gas projects and start production.”

MA/MA

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