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What does US sanctions waiver mean for Iraq’s energy dependence on Iran?

Iraq is seeking to boost its domestic natural gas sector and find alternatives to Iranian electricity but has not made significant progress, according to one expert.
An engineer walks across the Zubair oil field in southern Iraq on Jan. 21, 2010.

Iraq has received another sanctions waiver from the United States for buying Iranian electricity, a US official confirmed on Thursday, underscoring Baghdad’s continued energy dependence on Iran despite efforts to diversify.

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters that the United States issued another waiver for Iraq. Miller went on to praise Iraq’s progress in reducing its dependence on Iran for energy. 

"With respect to the waiver itself, yes, we did issue this waiver," said Miller in response to a question on the waiver.

What it means: The United States places broad sanctions on energy transactions with Iran, but Washington has been granting sanctions waivers to Iraq since 2018. The waivers allow Iraq to purchase electricity from neighboring Iran. Iraq currently relies on Iran for gas and electricity that accounts for around 40% of its power needs.

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