US Extends Iraq’s Gas Waiver for Iran, but for Shorter Period

As winter looms, Iran gets 60-day extension

Like most modern economies, Iraq doesn’t produce everything it needs, and sometimes has to import very important goods to keep things running. Most important for them is natural gas, which is used for both electricity generation and heating. And winter’s coming.

Though it irks the US, Iraq historically buys the natural gas from neighboring Iran. The US has granted them waivers, but gripes about it. This time, what was usually a 120-day waiver came up for renewal, and the US is granting only a 60-day extension.

This is being interpreted as a US push to accept more crackdowns on Shi’ite militias, and to limit purchases from Iran. There is not a good alternate supply route, and while Iraq has been loathe to just ignore US sanctions, they may not have a choice to keep their economy running.

The US hope is that they can force the current Iraqi government, already pro-US, into even further submission. That’s a risky game to play with Iraq’s most serious needs.

Uncertainty over gas supplies will be very bad for Iraq’s economy, and may force them to do more to try to secure their supplies. This may lead them to just work out deals outside of the US waivers system.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.