In November last year, Washington granted a 45-day waiver on electricity to the Arab country and extended it by 90 days In December after US President Donald Trump’s administration reimposed sanctions on Iran in May, following walking out of the Iran nuclear deal.
Earlier this month, the US State Department extended the 90-day waiver for the second time to let Iraq continue energy imports from Iran. The original exemption granted in December expired on March 19.
Iraq is the biggest importer of electricity from Iran. It needs more than 23,000 megawatts of electricity to meet its domestic demand but years of war following the 2003 US invasion have left its power infrastructure in tatters and a deficit of some 7,000 megawatts, Press TV reported.
At a press conference held after his speech, Halbusi warned Washington of the negative effect of “any hasty, uncalculated step to adopt policies and procedures against countries in this region.”
The electricity shortfall in the war-torn country is especially acute in the sweltering summers, which led to violent protests in Basra in September and turned into a national crisis.
Iraq’s electricity demand is expected to increase again this summer and any cuts in Iranian supplies are set to trigger more protests and reignite unrest, destabilizing the Arab country.
In addition to natural gas and electricity, Iraq imports a wide range of goods from Iran including food, agricultural products, home appliances, and air conditioners.