Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity announced that Iran reduced its gas supply to the country from 49 million to 8 million cubic meters per day. The decision came after the Iranian side said that Iraq paid none of its dues since a debt scheduling agreement was reached in June between the two countries. The reduction in gas supplies means the Iraqi national power output lost about 5,500 megawatts, according to the Electricity Ministry’s statement.
The American Energy Information Administration estimated in 2019 that Iraq’s “peak electricity generation capacity” was 19.3 gigawatts.
The decision comes after Iran’s participation at the Baghdad Conference which aimed at reducing regional tensions, including the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The conference also witnessed a diplomatic mishap when the newly-confirmed Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian broke protocol and situated himself in the front row during a photo-op. The area was designated for heads of state and government. This was Abdollahian’s first international trip as a foreign minister.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi had described the conference as a “huge success”.
This is the second time Iran has cut energy supply to its western neighbor within the past thirty days. Back on August 10, Iran had decreased its gas flow to Iraq from 47 million cubic meters per day to 25 million cubic meters per day.
The level at which the second decision reduced energy supply to Iraq raised concerns among Iraqi officials about power shortages, as the country is reeling from a summer of prolonged bouts of electricity cuts under record-high heatwaves. The daytime temperature goes as high as 48 degrees Celsius in provinces like Baghdad and Basra even during early September.