Iran signed a two-year agreement with Iraq on electricity exports to its neighbor, Iranian state-run news agency IRNA reported on Wednesday.
The agreement was made during a visit to Baghdad by Iran’s Minister of Energy Reza Ardakanian with a delegation of electricity experts to hold meetings with senior officials, including Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, President Barham Salih and Electricity Minister Majid Mahdi Hantoush.
Ardakanian said the contract was initially agreed for one year, but in his latest trip, both sides agreed for electricity exports in 2020 and 2021, although the amount of electricity was not specified.
"With the coordination of the Iranian embassy in Iraq, half of the disbursement worth $400 million was received during the trip," Ardakanian said.
He noted the two countries also discussed a three-year cooperation plan earlier signed to reconstruct Iraq's electricity industry and stressed their determination to broaden cooperation in the energy sector, despite US pressure on Baghdad to reduce electricity imports from sanctions-hit Tehran.
The Iraqi president's office released a statement on the meeting between both sides and said they explored the enhancement of bilateral relations in all sectors, especially in the fields of electricity and water.
Iran provides Iraq with around 1,200 megawatts of electricity per day and 40 million cubic meters of gas.
- American pressure on energy line between Baghdad-Tehran
Washington has been pressing Baghdad to stop buying natural gas and electricity from Tehran as part of its maximum pressure strategy aimed at Tehran's revenue stream. However, the US has granted Iraq a series of waivers enabling it to maintain electricity imports from its neighbor.
The last waiver, which was for 30 days, was granted on April 26 when Baghdad was struggling to form a new government.
On May 7, shortly after new Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi received confirmation from parliament, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington would grant a 120-day sanction waiver for Iraq to continue importing electricity from Iran to help the new Iraqi government succeed.
By Busranur Begcecanli