Iraq will need energy imports from Iran for up to three more years, said Iraq's Electricity Minister Luay al-Khateeb on Monday, according to Iranian state news agency IRNA.
In response to the U.S.' requirement to cut oil and gas imports from Iran, al-Khateeb said "Iraq has told the Americans it currently needs to import gas and electricity from Iran, as it is importing close to 1,200 megawatts (MW) of electricity as well as gas for generating 2,800 MW of electricity from the country."
He added that Iraq would need two or three years to gain self-sufficiency in the area of power generation, which is only be possible if large projects are implemented.
Al-Khateeb said that if these large projects are executed within the next two or three years, there will no need for imports from Iran.
Iraq imports gas from Iran to secure fuel for its power plants. The country has also imported 1,000 megawatts of electricity from Iran for years to cope with energy shortages.
Last year, the U.S. re-imposed a raft of economic sanctions on Iran that primarily target the country's banking and energy sectors. Washington had exempted Baghdad from sanctions against Iran and allowed it to import gas and electric power.
By Gokce Kucuk