US Reduces Iraq’s Sanction Waiver for Iran Gas, Threatening Trade

45 day waiver threatens an outgoing reversal for Trump

In trying to dictate trade and enforce sanctions, the US allows trade with Iran only with waivers. A handful of nations with economic need get waivers, usually for 180 days at a time, defining what the US will permit. The Trump Administration has been clear that those are meant to be temporary.

This meant pressure for nations like South Korea to find alternate sources for oil. One outlier is Iraq, however, which depends heavily on Iranian natural gas for electricity generation, and has no practical alternative. By necessity, they kept getting 180 day waivers as well.

On Friday, the State Department announced this waiver will only be 45 days. It’s not hard to imagine why, as Trump’s term winds down in just under 60 days, and this will give him one last chance to potentially revoke the waivers, a chance to spite Iran one last time, and to create a crisis in Iraq.

Iraq doesn’t have other options, either, so the plan for a US revocation of the waiver is probably to simply defy them and keep importing gas. Letting the nation lost a third of its electricity isn’t an option, and the hope probably will be that Biden will fix anything Trump breaks in the last weeks of January.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of