Iraq Wants More Time to Find Alternative to Iranian Gas

Iraq Wants More Time to Find  Alternative to Iranian Gas
Iraq Wants More Time to Find  Alternative to Iranian Gas

Iraq has agreed with Iran to exchange Iraqi food items for Iranian gas and energy supplies, two Iraqi government officials said on Wednesday. 
Baghdad is now seeking US approval to allow it to import Iranian gas which is used in its power stations, and needs more time to find an alternative source, they said, Reuters reported.
The sources are a senior government official and a member of Iraq’s ministerial energy committee. They were not named. 
“The American deadline of 45 days to stop importing Iranian gas is not enough at all for Iraq to find an alternative source,” the first official said. 
“Stopping Iranian natural gas after the deadline will create a real power crisis. We need more time ... the Americans are completely aware of how desperately we need Iranian gas.” 
Iraq relies heavily on Iranian gas to feed its power stations. 
About 12 million cubic meters of gas per day are currently supplied to Baghdad, making Iraq the second largest gas customer of Iran after Turkey which, according to the National Iranian Gas Company's head Hamidreza Araqi, "currently imports 30 million cubic meters of natural gas from Iran".
Basra, Iraq's second largest city, also needs Iranian gas to feed its power plant as part of efforts to reduce outages that have turned into a persistent source of public discontent and the export will commence soon.
Washington granted Iraq a waiver to be able to import Iranian gas and energy supplies as well as food items when US sanctions were restored against Iran’s oil sector last week. 
But the United States has said the exemption will last only 45 days. 
The second official said Iraq will submit a request to the United States to allow it to import beyond the 45-day deadline. 
In exchange for the gas Iraq is to “pay with food and humanitarian items to Iran ... Iran accepted this proposal,” the official said. 


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