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US extends Iran sanctions waiver for Iraq for 45 days: State Department spokesman

Washington — The US has again extended a waiver allowing Iraq to import Iranian electricity and natural gas despite US sanctions, a US State Department spokesman said Wednesday.

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"The US has granted a 45-day waiver to allow Iraq to pay for electricity imports from Iran," the spokesman said in a statement.

Analysts had speculated that the US may allow the waiver to expire this week following Iraq's parliament vote in January to expel US-led coalition troops, in response to the US killing of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani. The vote drew a sanctions threat from Trump.

This will be the sixth waiver the US has issued for Iraq since US sanctions on Iran energy exports snapped back in November 2018. After an initial 45-day waiver, the State Department issued two 90-day waivers in a row followed by two 120-day waivers in a row in June and then October.

Previously, the US had asked Iraq to show signs that it was reducing its imports of Iranian gas and power to meet its electricity demand. It also urged Iraq to establish contracts with US companies.