Iraq has been awarded an extension to its waiver to continue importing gas from Iran, a US government official confirms to MEES. Iraq was previously handed a 90-day extension in March (MEES, 22 March). This latest 90-day term will be effective from May the official says, implying it will expire in August. The US government is encouraging Iraq pursue alternatives including imports of electricity and gas from Saudi Arabia and Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, but realistically major progress here lools unlikely in the short term.
Critically this extension enables Iraq to continue receiving gas for the bulk of the hot summer months when demand for power generation peaks. Protests over blackouts are common in summer, and last year’s were particularly destabilizing (MEES, 28 September 2018). Even with Iranian gas secured, the government will still struggle to meet power demand, although the electricity ministry is making progress (MEES, 17 May). (CONTINUED - 146 WORDS)