By Ali Cevad and Firdevs Yuksel
The U.S. has issued Iraq with a 45-day waiver from U.S. sanctions on Iran for natural gas and electricity imports, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad announced on Friday.
"The U.S. has given Iraq a temporary relief from the sanctions for forty-five days to allow Iraq to continue purchasing natural gas and electricity from Iran," said an embassy official, in a video published on the embassy's Facebook page.
"This relief gives Iraq time to start taking steps towards energy independence," he added.
"New economic sanctions on Iran do not target Iran's population. They target the Iranian regime's behavior," another official said.
However, the waiver is conditional on Iraq not paying Iran for the imports in U.S. dollars.
Earlier, the U.S. Special Envoy to Iran Brian Hook said, "We granted Iraq a waiver to allow it to continue to pay for its electricity imports from Iran. We are confident that this will help Iraq limit electricity shortages in the south."
Iraq, which is struggling with electricity outages and insufficient power generation, is reliant on its neighbor for natural gas imports for its power stations.
The second wave of renewed U.S. sanctions on OPEC's third largest exporter officially started on Monday, Nov. 5 targeting Iran's energy, shipbuilding, shipping, and financial sectors.
The Trump administration also granted China, Greece, India, Turkey, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan a 180-day waiver for Iranian oil imports.
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