Washington gives Baghdad a new 90-day deadline to import Iranian energy

The United States reached an
agreement in principle with Iraq extending a 90-day exemption period for sanctions against Iran, allowing Baghdad to continue importing Iranian gas, which is critical to Iraq's energy production.

According to Reuters, "the extension was reached on Thursday, when the 45-day waiver was due to be completed during a visit by an Iraqi delegation to Washington, according to Iraqi officials who are directly familiar with the negotiations.

A senior Iraqi government official and a central bank official told Reuters the talks were continuing on Friday to finalize details, including how to push Iran to import energy.

And according to Reuters, the US president , Donald Trump administration said that Iraq , Iran must not be paid in US dollars or euros.

Washington initially gave Iraq a 45-day concession on Iranian gas when it re-imposed sanctions on Nov. 5 after months of negotiations.

Iraq relies heavily on Iranian gas to feed power plants, and imports about 1.5 billion standard cubic feet per day across pipelines in the south and east.

Iraqi officials said they needed about two years to find an alternative source.

Washington has said it wants to exclude Iranian influence in the Middle East, including Iraq, where Iran controls politics and trade.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on December 11 that the United States was working with Iraq on the issue of Iranian gas because it was "linked to a very sensitive issue is electricity."

The ongoing shortage of energy supplies has sparked protests this summer in southern Iraq, which is still plagued by a three-year war against a terrorist organization.

The prime minister, who took office in October, met with US Energy Secretary Rick Perry in Baghdad this month. Perry, who came with a delegation of more than 50 businessmen, also met Iraqi oil and electricity ministers.