The Trump administration has expressed openness to extending sanctions waivers allowing Iraq to import Iranian electricity and gas, Iraqi officials reportedly said.
An existing waiver granted to Iraq is set to expire on Thursday. Three unidentified Iraqi officials told The Associated Press that the State Department has signaled that it is prepared to extend it another three months if Baghdad can develop a timeline by the end of the week for transitioning off Iranian gas imports.
“The American side has announced to us their readiness,” one of the three officials told the AP. All three are senior Iraqi government ministers, one of whom is close to the ongoing negotiations.
The negotiations come just over a month after a U.S. airstrike killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, prompting the Iraqi Parliament to vote to expel U.S. troops in a nonbinding measure. The U.S. has said it will not comply with the vote and President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE has threatened to impose sanctions on Iraq if U.S. troops are expelled.
The State Department has granted the waiver to Iraq every time it has come up since November 2018, when it first reimposed sanctions on Tehran. Iraq is heavily reliant on Iran for energy, particularly after damage to its own oilfields during the Islamic State’s expansion in 2014, the AP noted.
"No final decision has been made on whether to cancel or renew the waiver for Iraq to pay for electricity imports,” a State Department spokesperson told The Hill.