Electricity crisis worsens as Iran cuts supply and minister resigns

Power blackouts throughout Iraq threaten to cause new bouts of social unrest over chronic failures to build adequate domestic gas and electricity supply.
An Iraqi worker fixes wiring linked to a generator which provides electricity to a residential neighborhood in Baghdad during power cuts on April 10, 2012. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP)

BAGHDAD - Iran has drastically cut gas and electricity exports to Iraq, contributing to severe power shortages across the country that prompted the resignation Tuesday of Iraqi Electricity Minister Majid Mahdi Hantoush.

Iranian gas supply has been reduced to a fraction of contracted volumes and electricity exports have stopped, according to Electricity Ministry data. The reason was not immediately clear, but Baghdad owes Tehran billions of dollars for gas and power sales that it has been unable to pay because of U.S. sanctions on money transfers to Iran.

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