U.S. keeps pressure on Iraq with 45-day sanctions waiver

As hostilities with Iran resume, a shortened waiver period gives the outgoing Trump administration one last opportunity to wield economic leverage in Iraq.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) and President of Iraq, Barham Salih speak during a bilateral meeting on Sept. 22, 2019 in New York City. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)

UPDATE: This story has been updated to include comments from the U.S. State Department, which were provided shortly after initial publication.

The U.S. has granted Iraq a 45-day sanctions waiver to continue importing Iranian energy — an unusually short extension that gives the Trump administration one more chance to threaten Iraq's economy before President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20, 2021.

Outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo approved the new waiver just before the previous, 60-day waiver was set to expire, according to two people briefed on the issue, who said there have not been any other substantive changes in the terms or the renewal process.

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