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 Iraq gets US exemption to buy electricity from Iran

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claud39
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PostSubject: Iraq gets US exemption to buy electricity from Iran   Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:10 am

http://www.uabonline.org/en/news/arabicnews/15751604159315851575160216101581158916041593160416/57465/0


Iraq gets US exemption to buy electricity from Iran

 09/11/2018





Iraq has been exempted from the sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran to protect its electricity sector, amid the crisis between Washington and Tehran. With the introduction of US sanctions targeting Iran's oil and financial sectors, fears have emerged that Iraq, which relies heavily on its eastern neighbor in the field of electricity and consumer goods, is a victim of the crisis. 
"Iraq has given us an exemption to allow it to continue to pay for the import of electricity from Iran," State Department Envoy to Iran Bryan Hawk said. An Iraqi source familiar with the agency «AFP» that Iraq received this exemption in exchange for commitments. "The US gave us a 45-day chance to find a solution to stop using oil and gas, but we told them that we needed 4 years to depend on ourselves, or find an alternative."

Iraq obtained the exemption after negotiations between Iraqi and US officials represented by the White House and the US Treasury Department, the source said. Iraqi government representatives have held talks between US and Iranian officials for months to ensure their fragile economy does not collapse due to rising tensions. 
Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said in a press statement that Baghdad is in talks with both sides to protect their interests, and Iraq is not part of the sanctions system, it first protects its interests, taking into account all the interests of others. 

The value of these non-hydrocarbon imports about $ 6 billion in 2017, making Iran the second largest exporter of imported goods in Iraq.

But perhaps the most important for 39 million people in Iraq is their reliance on Iran for electricity. A lack of energy, often leaving homes without electricity for up to 20 hours a day, is a major factor behind weeks of major protests in Iraq during the summer. 

To overcome this shortfall, Baghdad imports natural gas from Tehran to its factories and directly buys 1,300 megawatts of Iranian electricity. 

This dependence is uncomfortable for the United States, which sought to reduce Tehran's influence and re-impose sanctions on Iranian financial institutions, shipping lines, the energy sector and oil products. 

"It seems that Iraq's special exemption came under its own condition that determines how it will stop using Iranian electricity," said Nusseibeh Younis, an adviser at the European Institute for Peace. "In order to get this exception, the Iraqis have presented a kind of road map," she told AFP.

And may help US companies fill the vacuum left by Iran. In January, Iraq signed a memorandum of understanding with US energy company Orion to exploit gas in a southern oilfield and signed a memorandum with US utility GE to reform the electricity sector after signing a similar deal with Siemens, . 

"General Electric is one of several US companies that have been proposed to Baghdad in the context of negotiations with the United States," the source told AFP.
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