By John Lee.

The Trump administration has reportedly granted Iraq a 120-day waiver from its sanctions against Iran, to allow it to continue importing electricity from the country during the hottest of the summer weather.

The decision followed a phone call on Friday between Secretary of State Michael Pompeo (pictured) and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.

The State Dept said it is continuing to work with Iraq to end its dependence on Iranian natural gas and electricity.

(Sources: Bloomberg, The National)

Washington has exempted Baghdad from some of its unilateral sanctions against Tehran, allowing Iraq to continue importing energy from Iran, according to the US envoy to Baghdad.

Baghdad can now buy energy from Iran, US charge d’affaires Joey Hood told reporters on Wednesday, Iran’s Press TV reported.

The waiver will allow Iraq to continue buying gas and electricity from Iran.

The administration of US President Donald Trump said in March it was extending a 90-day waiver for the second time to let Iraq continue energy imports from Iran.

The US envoy did not explain whether he was referring to the same waiver Washington gave Baghdad in March or he was declaring the issuance of new exemptions.

Gas imports from Iran generate as much as 45 percent of Iraq’s 14,000 megawatts of electricity consumed daily. Iran transmits another 1,000 megawatts directly, making itself an indispensable energy source for its Arab neighbor.

Iraq and Iran share a 1,400-kilometer-long border. For their run-of-the-mill maintenance, Iraqis depend on Iranian companies for many things from food to machinery, electricity, natural gas, fruits and vegetables.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

President Hassan Rouhani has called for Iran and neighbouring Iraq to expand their gas and electricity dealings and boost bilateral trade to $20 billion, state TV reported, despite difficulties caused by US sanctions against Tehran.

“The plans to export electricity and gas and hopefully oil continue and we are ready to expand these contacts not only for the two countries but also for other countries in the region,” Rouhani said after a meeting with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, in remarks carried by state television.

In March, the United States granted Iraq a 90-day waiver exempting it from sanctions to buy energy from Iran, the latest extension allowing Baghdad to keep purchasing electricity from its neighbour.

“We hope that our plans to expand trade volume to $20 billion will be realised within the news few months or years,” Rouhani said. Iranian media reports have put the current level of trade at about $12 billion.

Rouhani expressed hope that work on building a railway linking the two countries, would begin within the next few months.

The railway project was part of deals reached during Rouhani’s March visit to Baghdad, meant to underline that Tehran still plays a dominant role in Iraq despite US efforts to isolate Iran.

Iran and Iraq fought a devastating 1980-88 war but the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq that ousted Saddam Hussein prompted a long Sunni Islamist insurgency during which Iran’s regional sway rose at the expense of the United States.

Iraq on Saturday closed its Sheeb border crossing with Iran to travellers and trade until further notice, Iraqi security sources said, as flooding continues to submerge villages in southwestern Iran.

US President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions on Iran’s energy exports in November, citing its nuclear programme and meddling in the Middle East, but has granted waivers to several buyers to meet consumer energy needs.

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

(Source: Middle East Monitor)

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

There is a fight over energy in Iraq between the US and Iran. Iraq relies on Iranian gas for nearly half of its energy – gas that is now subject to US sanctions on Iran.

The Iraqi government originally obtained a 45-day sanctions waiver from the US, but that waiver is set to expire next week.

Iraq is particularly sensitive to the issue after protests against electricity cuts rocked Basra earlier in the year and Iraq’s new government is treading a thin line trying to keep both the US and Iran happy, and its people satisfied.

Al Jazeera’s Charlotte Bellis reports:

By John Lee.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is reportedly in discussions with Iraq to connect electricity grids.

An official at the UAE’s Ministry of Energy and Industry told Reuters that the GCC could export its surplus electricity to Iraq.

(Source: Reuters)

Iraq is negotiating with the U.S. for exemptions from the impending snap-back of sanctions against Iran, arguing that it could not cut consumption of Iranian electricity and natural gas immediately without suffering serious economic harm and social instability.

An Iraqi delegation was in Washington last week seeking a waiver for its cross-border trade, meeting with senior officials in the State Department, Treasury Department, and National Security Council, according to multiple officials familiar with the talks.

More details here from Iraq Oil Report (subscription required)

(Source: Iraq Oil Report)

Iraq is negotiating with the U.S. for exemptions from the impending snap-back of sanctions against Iran, arguing that it could not cut consumption of Iranian electricity and natural gas immediately without suffering serious economic harm and social instability.

An Iraqi delegation was in Washington last week seeking a waiver for its cross-border trade, meeting with senior officials in the State Department, Treasury Department, and National Security Council, according to multiple officials familiar with the talks.

More details here from Iraq Oil Report (subscription required)

(Source: Iraq Oil Report)

By John Lee.

The spokesman for the Ministry of Electricity, Dr. Musab Sari al-Mudaris [Mussab Serri al-Mudaris] (pictured) has denied reports that he had told Bloomberg about an agreement to buy electricity from Saudi Arabia.

He said the statement from the news agency is incorrect.

Bloomberg had cited Mudaris as saying that Saudi Arabia agreed to build a 3,000-megawatt solar power plant in Saudi Arabia and sell the electricity to Iraq at $21 per megawatt-hour, a quarter of what it paid Iran for the imports.

Iran recently stopped supplying electricity to Iraq due “the accumulation of debts owed by Baghdad“.

(Source: Ministry of Electricity, Bloomberg)

Iraqi Electricity Minister Qassem Al-Fahdawi (pictured) said yesterday that his country has failed to convince Iran to resume supplying Iraq with electricity.

Last Friday, Al-Fahdawi along with an Iraqi delegation arrived in Tehran where they held talks with Iranian officials to resume supplying Iraq with 1,000 megawatts of electricity, which Tehran cut off about two weeks ago due to the accumulation of debts owed by Baghdad.

Al-Fahdawi explained in a statement received by Anadolu News Agency that his ministry “has put [forward] an alternative plan to importing electricity from Iran”.

Iraq has been importing electricity from Iran for many years after their power infrastructure was destroyed by decades of war and blockade.

According to figures released by the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity in August, last year the country produces 15,700 megawatts of electricity, however it needs more than 23,000 megawatts of electricity to meet its population needs.

The power outage caused by the Iranian move contributed to fueling violent protests in the southern Iraq provinces which led to at least five people being killed and 190 wounded after security forces fired on protesters.

(Source: Middle East Monitor)

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Minister of Electricity Qassim Mohammad al-Fahdawi has met with a visiting delegation from Tehran headed by Iran‘s Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade, Mohammad Shariatmadari.

They renewed for an additional year a contract under which Iran sells electricity to Iraq.

Through four major supply lines, Iran sends 1,000 megawatts of electricity to Iraq.

(Sources: Ministry of Electricity, Rudaw)