U.S. Grants 120-Day Waiver for Iraq to Pay for Electricity from Iran

FILE PHOTO: An electrician works on an electric switchboard of a local generator in Baghdad. REUTERS/Saad Shalash

WASHINGTON, March 31 (Reuters) – The United States has renewed a waiver allowing Iraq to pay for electricity imported from Iran, this time giving Baghdad 120 days to reduce its energy dependence on neighboring Tehran, a State Department spokesman said on Wednesday.

The waiver was renewed despite U.S. sanctions imposed after former U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and world powers, and Iran began breaching the deal’s terms.

The U.S. has issued regular waivers to Iraq since it reimposed sanctions, but last year shortened their length to encourage Iraq to reduce its use of Iranian energy.

Wednesday’s 120-day extension was the first under President Joe Biden, who has sought to re-enter diplomacy with Iran over returning to the nuclear deal.

“The waiver ensures that Iraq is able to meet its short-term energy needs while it takes steps to reduce its dependence on Iranian energy imports,” the spokesman said.

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis; Writing by Diane Bartz; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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