Iraq to ask for exemptions on some Iran sanctions: report

Iraq to ask for exemptions on some Iran sanctions: report
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Iraq is planning to ask for exemptions to ignore U.S. sanctions on its neighbor Iran, which it is closely tied to economically, Reuters reported.

The U.S. has reimposed sanctions on Tehran after leaving the Iran nuclear deal, which had rolled back sanctions against Iran in exchange for a reduction in the country's nuclear program.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown MORE has warned other countries against doing business with Iran. 

Those warnings place Iraq in a difficult position as its economy is deeply connected to Iran's. Iraq imports food, agricultural products, home appliances and more from Iran, totaling 15 percent of Iraq's total imports in 2017, Reuters reported. 

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There are also energy contracts between the two countries contributing to $12 billion in trade between the countries last year.

“The government plans to ask Washington for a waiver," a central bank official told Reuters. "It’s going to happen soon." 

An Iraqi delegation is planning to visit Washington, D.C., to ask for permission to ignore some U.S. sanctions against Iran, Reuters reported. 

A U.S. State Department official told Reuters said the U.S. is open to conversations with Iraq but will give the "same message" that it has given "all countries around the world."

“We have given the same message to all countries around the world that the President has said, the United States is fully committed to enforcing all of our sanctions,” the official told Reuters. “Iraq is a friend and important partner of the U.S and we are we are committed to ensuring Iraqi stability and prosperity.”

The first round of sanctions, which went into effect earlier this month, target Iran's gold and metal trade, its automotive industry and its purchase of U.S. dollars. More sanctions are scheduled to go into effect in November.