Wednesday, 19 June 2019

US to extend Iran energy sanctions waiver for Iraq

WASHINGTON has assured Afghanistan it would prolong the sanctions waiver, allowing Iraq to purchase Iranian energy, a source, close to Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd Mahdi, told Sputnik.

“There is currently no official information [on the issue] but we have the United States’ assurance that Iraq will be excluded [from the sanctions]”, the source said.

On Monday, the United States announced it prolonged the waiver for Iraq for 90 days. US sanctions against Tehran have been reintroduced in the wake of Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, aimed at ensuring the peaceful nature of the Middle Eastern country’s nuclear program.

The United States decided to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018. The decision has been criticized by other signatories of the accord – China, France, Germany, Iran, the European Union, Russia and the United Kingdom.

According to Iranian First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri, Iran’s dependence on oil export income has dropped to below 30 per cent, compared to comprising 80 to 90 per cent of government revenues in the past. Over the past few years, Iran has been aiming to reduce its reliance on its oil exports, in the face of tightening US sanctions.

Tensions have been soaring between the United States and Iran over the past weeks as Washington has bolstered its military forces in the Middle East in what White House National Security Adviser John Bolton has called “a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime”. Additional deployments include a carrier strike group, Patriot missiles, B-52 bombers and F-15 fighters, according to the Pentagon.

US President Donlad Trump stated earlier that he hoped to avoid a war with Iran. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in turn, said that Iran did not intend to wage war with the United States, but would continue to resist Washington.

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