November 2, 2018 / 5:48 PM / 10 days ago

UPDATE 1-U.S. to grant Iraq waiver over Iran sanctions for gas, food items - Iraqi officials

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BAGHDAD, Nov 2 (Reuters) - The United States has told Iraq that it will be allowed to keep importing crucial gas, energy supplies and food items from Iran after Washington reimposes sanctions on Tehran’s oil sector, three Iraqi officials said on Friday.

The waiver is conditional on Iraq not paying Iran for the imports in U.S. dollars, said the officials, who included a member of Iraq’s ministerial committee that oversees energy activities. The U.S. sanctions take effect on Nov. 4.

The ministerial committee official said Iraq’s finance ministry had set up an account with a state-run bank where Baghdad would deposit in Iraqi dinars the amounts owed to Iran for the imports.

Central bank officials said in August that Iraq’s economy is so closely linked to Iran that Baghdad would ask Washington for permission to ignore some U.S. sanctions.

Iraq imports crucial supplies from its neighbour including uses gas for power stations. (Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed and Aref Mohammed in Basra Writing by John Davison Editing by David Stamp and Raissa Kasolowsky)

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