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Iran resumes electricity exports to shortage-hit Iraq

Power lines in the Great Salt Desert, Iran [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 August, 2018

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Electricity shortages in both Iran and Iraq have led to large demonstrations in both countries in recent months.

Iran's deputy energy minister said Tuesday the country has resumed electricity supplies to Iraq 10 days earlier, after shortages sparked large protests in several cities. 

Mahmoudreza Haghifam said "[w]e are now exporting 200 to 250 megawatt of electricity to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan," according to Reuters. 

Tehran cut the supply in July because of outstanding payments and a spike in domestic electricity consumption.

The electricity shortages, along with a lack of access to clean water, sparked demonstrations in Basra and elsewhere. Protesters blamed corruption and an inept government. 

Iran also witnessed several large scale protests in recent months over water and electricity shortages. Tehran says a drought has dried out rivers and led to hydropower production shortages. 

At least 11 Iraqis have been killed, three in each of the cities Basra, Samawah and Najaf, and one in both the cities of Diwaniyah and Karbala, with hundreds more wounded after security forces responded to protests with live fire.

In June, Saudi Arabia offered to sell discounted electricity to Iraq as part of the kingdom's efforts to curb its arch-rival Iran's influence in the country. 

In late July, Iraq's prime minister sacked his electricity minister following weeks of protests. 

Agencies contributed to this report. 

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