US grants Iraq new Iran sanctions waiver

 

US grants Iraq new Iran sanctions waiver
Iraq, one of the world's hottest nations, faces chronic blackouts that often leave homes without power for up to 20 hours a day.

Baghdad - Extension comes after 'long discussions' with Washington ahead of looming deadline on previous waiver granted in December

By Reuters

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Published: Sat 15 Jun 2019, 6:26 PM

Last updated: Sun 16 Jun 2019, 9:06 AM

The United States has granted Iraq another 90-day waiver to continue with vital energy imports from neighbouring Iran despite re-imposed sanctions, a government source said on Saturday.
The extension came after "long discussions" with Washington ahead of a looming deadline on a previous extension granted in December, the official, close to the negotiations, told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The talks came amid spiking tensions between Iraq's two closest allies - the US and Iran - following a twin attack on tankers in the Gulf that US President Donald Trump has blamed on Tehran.
Iranian energy imports are vital to Iraq, one of the world's hottest countries, which faces chronic blackouts that often leave homes without power for up to 20 hours a day. Summer temperatures in Baghdad are already topping seasonal averages, boosting electricity consumption and raising fears of a repeat of last summer's mass protests over power outages.
To compensate, Iraq pipes in up to 28 million cubic metres of Iranian gas a day for power generation and also directly imports up to 1,300MW of Iranian electricity. That dependence is uncomfortable for Washington, which sees Tehran as its top regional foe. Trump reimposed unilateral sanctions on Iran's energy and finance sectors in November.
He gave Iraq an initial 45-day waiver to continue buying electricity and natural gas from Tehran, and in December Baghdad was given a 90-day extension.
South Korea halts Iran imports
Meanwhile, South Korea halted all imports of Iranian oil in May, customs data showed on Saturday, as waivers on US sanctions against Iran ended at the start of last month.
The world's fifth-largest crude oil importer was among countries granted six-month waivers by the US in November last year, and resumed Iranian oil imports from January this year.
The country's imports of Iranian crude for the January-May period, were 3.87 million tonnes, or 187,179 bpd, compared to 5.45 million tonnes over the same period last year.
South Korean oil buyers mainly imported condensate, an ultra-light oil, from Iran.
SK Innovation, the owner of South Korea's top refiner SK Energy and petrochemical maker SK Incheon Petrochem, said in late May that it has been replacing Iranian condensate with crude oil from other sources, including Russia.
South Korea's total May crude oil imports fell 11.1 per cent to 11.27 million tonnes, or 2.65 million bpd.


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