Iraq will struggle to generate enough electricity unless it continues to use Iranian gas for three to four more years, Luay al Khateeb, the electricity minister said on Tuesday, resisting US pressure to stop the imports from its Middle East neighbour, ONA reports citing Euronews.
Iranian oil exports have tumbled since the United States imposed new sanctions on Iran this year, seeking to isolate the Islamic Republic in a row over its nuclear ambitions.
Iraq has a US waiver to import Iranian gas, but Washington has been pressing Baghdad to phase them out: “At the end of the day it is an open market,” Electricity Minister Luay al Khateeb told reporters on the sidelines of the World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi. “The issue of electricity is regularly becoming a political affair in Iraq.”
Power cuts in Iraq have often prompted protests against the authorities. Iran supplies enough gas to power 2,500 megawatts (MW), as well as providing Iraq with 1,200 MW in direct power supplies. The minister said Iraq now had capacity for 18,000 MW, up from 12,000-15,000 MW last year but still below peak demand that could reach about 25,000 MW and was rising every year.