WASHINGTON DC (Kurdistan 24) – The US is not granting Iraq a waiver for the second set of sanctions on Iran that took effect on November 5.
US officials had earlier said that eight countries would receive temporary waivers or what the US calls Significant Reduction Exemptions (SREs), granted to states that are dependent on Iranian oil imports and that have made a serious effort to reduce such purchases.
However, those US officials declined last week to identify those countries, saying that they would do so on Monday.
On Monday morning, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking to the foreign press in Washington DC, listed the eight countries that are receiving SRE’s: China, India, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and South Korea.
Iraq is not among them, although Reuters, citing three Iraqi officials, had earlier reported that Baghdad would be among the eight countries receiving SREs.
Kurdish authorities had earlier said that they will abide by decisions of the Iraqi federal government in regard to the Iran sanctions.
“The Kurdistan Region is part of Iraq,” Safeen Dizayee, Spokesperson for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), told Kurdistan 24.
“Whatever the federal government of Iraq decides, the Kurdistan Regional Government will implement,” Dizayee said.
However, he spoke before Pompeo’s press conference, and it is not clear if Kurdish authorities understood that Iraq would not be receiving a waiver.
The second round of US sanctions targets Iran’s oil, shipping, and banking sectors.
It remains to be seen what impact the US decision not to grant Iraq a waiver from the Iran sanctions will have, including on relations between Washington and Baghdad.
Since April, when Mike Pompeo became Secretary of State and John Bolton became National Security Adviser, the US has taken a much tougher position on Iran, including Iran’s activities in Iraq.