An Iraqi official said on Saturday that Washington had granted Iraq a 45-day easing of sanctions for importing Iranian gas, which would import Iranian gas.
Baghdad buys gas and electricity from neighboring Tehran, nearly a third of its electricity sector, deteriorating due to years of conflict and poor maintenance.
The United States blacklisted Iran’s energy industry at the end of 2018, but granted Baghdad a series of temporary exemptions in the hope that Iraq would phase out Iranian energy by partnering with American companies.
The duration of the waiver has become an important tool of US policy towards Iraq, demonstrating the level of satisfaction or frustration with Baghdad.
In May, Washington granted Iraq a four-month extension as a sign of goodwill to Mustafa al-Qadimi, who had just formed a cabinet considered friend of the United States.
But when it was reissued at the end of September, the Trump administration only gave Iraq 60 days.
This time it got even shorter: 45 days, a senior Iraqi official told AFP, ending about a week before Trump was handed over to the White House for the presidential election.
“They (the Trump administration) wanted one last chance to have their say,” the official said.
The small room for maneuver between Iraqi and Western officials fears Trump may attack Iran and its allies in Iraq in his final days.
The State Department is preparing plans for a possible closure of the US embassy in Baghdad, which has been the target of dozens of rocket attacks over the past year.
And two Iraqi officials said they expected a “sanctions list” against Iranian interests in Iraq, citing the White House.
(This story is not edited by NDTV staff and automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)