US Welcomes New Iraq Govt; Extends Iran Sanctions Waiver

By John Lee.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (pictured) has welcomed the formation of a new government in Iraq following months of instability.

In a phone call with the new Prime Minister, Mustafa Kadhemi, he said that the US would not enforce sanctions on Iraq buying electricity from Iran for 120 days "as a display of our desire to help provide the right conditions for success".

The full statement via Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said:‎

"Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke today with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. Secretary Pompeo welcomed Prime Minister Kadhimi's new government, which was confirmed by the Council of Representatives.

"They discussed the urgent hard work ahead for the Iraqi government, implementing reforms, addressing COVID-19, and fighting corruption. In support of the new government the United States will move forward with a 120-day electricity waiver as a display of our desire to help provide the right conditions for success.

"The Secretary and the Prime Minister also discussed the upcoming U.S.-Iraq strategic dialogue and how they look forward to working together to provide the Iraqi people the prosperity and security they deserve."

(Source: US State Dept)

US Renews Waiver for Iraq to Import Electricity from Iran

By John Lee.

Washington has renewed a waiver for Iraq to continue importing Iranian electricity, a US State Department official said.

"The Secretary granted this brief extension of the waiver to allow time for the formation of a credible government," the official said, referring to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and added that the waiver would expire on May 26, according to Reuters.

Washington has repeatedly extended the exemption for Baghdad to use crucial Iranian energy supplies for its power grid, for periods of 90 or 120 days.

Earlier this month, Iraq's president named intelligence chief Mustafa al-Kadhimi as prime minister-designate, the third person tapped to lead Iraq in just 10 weeks as it struggles to replace a government that fell last year after months of deadly protests.

"Once that government is in place, the Secretary will reassess whether to renew the waiver and for how long," the US State Department official said.

The official added that the waiver applied only to electricity and referred to the Treasury Department for transactions related to Iranian natural gas imports.

Electricity Minister Luay al-Khatteeb told S&P Global Platts last week that Iraq needs three to four years to complete projects that would provide the necessary natural gas for its power stations.

(Sources: Tasnim, Reuters, S&P Global)

Rocket Attack Targets Halliburton in Basra

By John Lee.

At least three rockets are reported to have hit near Halliburton's site in the Burjesia area of Basra early on Monday morning.

It is understood that the incident caused no casualties or damage.

It is the first attack to target US energy interests in Iraq in recent months.

(Sources: S&P Global Platts, AP, Sputnik)

US provides Aid to help Iraq fight Coronavirus

By Bryant Harris for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

US provides Aid to help Iraq fight Coronavirus

The US Embassy in Baghdad announced today that is providing $670,000 to help Iraq fight the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"Today's announcement shows the strength of the US and Iraqi partnership, and we are committed to fighting this pandemic alongside the Iraqi people," said US Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller. "Support provided through the [World Health Organization] will directly enhance the country's ability to combat the spread of COVID-19."

Click here to read the full article.

Coronavirus forces partial US Troop Drawdown

By Bryant Harris for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Coronavirus forces partial US troop drawdown in Iraq

The US-led global coalition to defeat the Islamic State announced today that the coronavirus pandemic has forced "temporary adjustments" in the mission against the terrorist group.

"The unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to the Iraqi and Syrian people, and to our mission, led to temporary adjustments to protect the force during this period, in full coordination with the Iraqi authorities," the coalition said in a joint statement today released by the US State Department.

Click here to read the full article.

Iraq “likely” to get New Waiver for Iran Gas Imports

By Bryant Harris for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq likely to continue importing Iranian natural gas under US waiver renewal

Iraqi officials have indicated that the United States is likely to renew a key Iran sanctions waiver that will allow Baghdad to continue importing Iranian natural gas to fuel its electricity needs, the AP reported.

The three-month waiver is set to expire Thursday.

Iraq relies on Iranian imports to meet the lion’s share of its electricity needs in the face of shortages that have helped provoke widespread protests in recent years.

Click here to read the full article.

(Picture credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Iraq may Stop Iran Gas Transfers if US Waiver Ends

By John Lee.

The head of Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) has reportedly said that the bank would stop processing payments for Iranian gas imports if a US sanctions exemption expires next month.

Faisal al-Haimus told AFP:

“As a bank, the most important thing we have is that we are compliant (with international regulations). That’s why people trust us.”

Iraq relies heavily on Iran to support its struggling electricity sector.

When the United States imposed sanctions on Iran’s energy sector in 2018, it granted Iraq a series of temporary waivers to allow it to buy gas from Iran.

More here.

(Source: AFP)

Iraq Contributes to Schlumberger Results

By John Lee.

US-based Schlumberger has reported that Iraq has contributed to its revenue growth in the region.

In its full-year results for 2019, the company said:

“Sequential international growth was led by the Middle East & Asia area, where revenue increased 5% driven by higher year-end product sales in Kuwait, Iraq, and Oman.”

(Source: Schlumberger)

Chevron pulls US staff from Kurdistan

By John Lee.

Chevron has reportedly removed all of its American oil workers from Iraqi Kurdistan as a security precaution, following the killing of Iranian Quds Force leader Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

The company currently has interests in the Sarta and Qara Dagh blocks.

(Sources: Reuters, CNN)

Donate to Iraqi Children Foundation on Giving Tuesday

The children of Iraq are in crisis. An estimated 800,000 were orphaned by the end of the Iraq War.

The invasion by ISIS displaced more than 1.3 million. Thousands work on the streets, in homes, or in businesses.

They are why the Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) exists: to intervene on their behalf with love and hope.

On Giving Tuesday, 3rd December, all new monthly donors will receive a 100% match on their first donation, and the ICF is competing for a share of $500,000 in matching funds.

Thank you for your ongoing support!