US grants Iraq 90-day waiver to buy Iranian energy

Iranian gas is crucial to Iraq's energy production. (AFP/File)
Updated 20 March 2019
0

US grants Iraq 90-day waiver to buy Iranian energy

  • The previous waiver was granted 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 power production.
The official said the waiver was granted on Tuesday. The last waiver for Iraq to be exempt from U.S. sanctions on Iran was granted 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.
"While this waiver is intended to help Iraq mitigate energy shortages, we continue to discuss our Iran-related sanctions with our partners in Iraq," the State Department official said on condition of anonymity.
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.
"We are also continuing to work with Iraq to end its dependence on Iranian natural gas and electricity and increase its energy independence," the State Department official said.


US Mideast plan will not include land transfer from Egypt’s Sinai: envoy

Updated 20 April 2019
0

US Mideast plan will not include land transfer from Egypt’s Sinai: envoy

JERUSALEM: US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan will not involve giving land from Egypt’s Sinai peninsula to the Palestinians, an American envoy said on Friday.
Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s Middle East envoy, apparently sought to deny reports on social media that the long-awaited plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would involve extending Gaza into the northern Sinai along Egypt’s Mediterranean coast.
“Hearing reports our plan includes the concept that we will give a portion of Sinai (which is Egypt’s) to Gaza. False!,” Greenblatt, one of the architects of the proposal, tweeted on Friday.
The American plan is expected to be unveiled once Israel’s newly re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forms a government coalition and after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends in June.
Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner said on Wednesday the plan would require compromise by all parties, a source familiar with his remarks said.
It is unclear whether the plan will propose outright the creation of a Palestinian state, the Palestinians’ core demand.
The Palestinians have long sought to set up a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, territory Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East War, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The last round of US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2014.