The US government has eased restrictions on Iraqi payments to Iran for electricity imports in a move which coincides with Baghdad stating an intention to implement a controversial oil-for-gas barter agreement with the Islamic Republic (MEES, 14 July). The waiver may help Iraq unfreeze additional funds for Iran to utilize for “humanitarian” imports such as agricultural commodities, food and medicine, and is designed to ease Iran’s political leverage over Baghdad.

A US diplomatic source confirms that Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week signed a 120-day national security waiver permitting Iraq to pay Iran for crucial imports of electricity supplies. The previous waiver signed in April was approaching expiry. (CONTINUED - 1158 WORDS)