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|20 March, 2019

U.S. grants Iraq 90-day waiver to buy Iranian energy -State Dept

The last sanctions waiver for Iraq was granted by Washington on Dec 21.

WASHINGTON- The United States granted Iraq a 90-day waiver exempting it from sanctions to buy energy from Iran, a State Department official said on Wednesday, the latest extension allowing Baghdad to keep importing Iranian gas that is critical for Iraqi power production.

“Iraq was granted a 90-day waiver to purchase energy imports from Iran," the State Department official said on condition of anonymity. The last sanctions waiver for Iraq was granted by Washington on Dec. 21.

The Trump administration reimposed sanctions on Iran’s energy exports in November, citing its nuclear program and meddling in the Middle East, but has granted waivers to several buyers to meet consumer energy needs.

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Iraq relies heavily on Iranian gas to feed its power stations, importing roughly 1.5 billion standard cubic feet per day via pipelines in the south and east.

Washington has said it wants to roll back Iranian influence in the Middle East, including in Iraq, where Iran holds broad sway over politics and trade.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Franklin Paul and Susan Thomas) ((doina.chiacu@thomsonreuters.com; 202-898-8322;))

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