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Iran signs 2-year pact to export electricity to Iraq

Highlights

Previously, both signed a one-year agreement

Iraq paid $400 mil, or half of cost of electricity supply

US extends Iraq's sanctions waiver for Iranian electricity on May 7

Tehran — Iran has signed a two-year agreement to export electricity to Iraq, Iranian state-run news agency IRNA reported on June 3, despite Baghdad having only received a 120-day extension to its waiver for the import of electricity from sanctions-hit Tehran.

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Iranian electricity minister Reza Ardakanian, who visited Baghdad on June 3, told IRNA the contract used to be for a one-year period, but in his latest trip, both sides have agreed to sign a contract for the export of electricity in 2020 and 2021. He did not specify the amount of electricity to be exported to Iraq.

Iraq has yet to confirm the signing of the agreement, but said that the Iranian minister had visited top officials in Baghdad on June 3.

During his trip to Iraq, the Iranian minister told IRNA that Baghdad paid $400 million, or half the cost of the supply of electricity.

Both countries also reviewed previous agreements and a three-year plan for the revamping of Iraq's electricity industry with the help of the Iranian private sector, he said.

An Iranian technical and expert delegation will visit Iraq next week to sign two contracts on reducing power grid losses and repairing electricity equipment, the minister added.

Waiver extension

The US on May 7 extended Iraq's sanctions waiver for 120 days, enabling it to import electricity from Iran, which the Trump administration has done in a show of support for the appointment of the new Iraqi prime minister last month, providing some stability to the politically fractured nation.

The US, which has sought to squeeze Iran by imposing sanctions on its energy exports in 2018, has granted Iraq a series of waivers enabling it to maintain electricity imports from its neighbor. But the length of the waivers has been shortened as the US has pressured Iraq to reduce its dependency on Iranian energy supplies.

The last waiver, which was for 30 days, had been granted on April 26.