US Extends Iraq Waiver for Purchasing Electricity From Iran for 3 Months

© AP Photo / Ebrahim NorooziAn Iranian woman holds an effigy of US president Donald Trump, during a rally marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019
An Iranian woman holds an effigy of US president Donald Trump, during a rally marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019 - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States has extended for 90 days its waiver which exempts Iraq from sanctions for buying electricity from Iran, a State Department spokesperson told Sputnik on Wednesday.

"An additional 90-day waiver was granted to allow Iraq to continue to pay for electricity imports from Iran," the spokesperson said.

Washington is engaged in ongoing discussions with Baghdad on sanctions against Iran, the official added.

"We are also continuing to work with Iraq to end its dependence on Iranian natural gas and electricity and increase its energy independence," the official said.

The State Department official noted that diversifying energy exports away from Iran would strengthen the Iraqi economy.

Earlier this month, the White House noted it may allow purchasing Iranian crude oil to eight states within the framework of the significant reduction exemptions (SRE) — a waiver on sanctions awarded to them earlier.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei arrives to deliver a speech during a meeting with Iranians from the East Azerbaijan province, in Tehran, Iran February 18, 2019 - Sputnik International
Iran's Khamenei Says Tehran Should Not Bet on Europe in Battling US Sanctions

READ MORE: Tehran to File Legal Case Against US Over Sanctions — Iranian President Rouhani

Despite the American sanctions on Tehran's oil exports, the revenues from them in the first nine months of the current Iranian year — which runs from 21 March 2018 to 20 March 2019 — have reportedly increased by 48.9 percent year-on-year.

The US granted its first such sanctions waiver for Iraq on December 21, 2018. A month before that, Washington has granted reduction exemptions (SRE) to China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey for a period of six months.

READ MORE: Top Iranian Official Blames US For Oil Market Volatility

The sanctions were re-imposed by Washington against Iranian energy companies and banks on 5 November 2018. Initially, they were lifted under the provisions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal. Trump, who has been a critic of the deal since his election campaign, announced that the US would abandon the agreement, which he labelled "flawed at its core" in May 2018. The move was unilateral, with other signatories slamming Washington for the move and expressing readiness to continue to adhere to the deal.

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