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Iran and Iraq sign controversial five-year contract to continue export of natural gas



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Despite the Biden administration having ‘strongly suggested’ that Iraqis find other ways solve their production problems, they have signed a new deal with Iran. Iraq’s ministry of electricity announced a finalized agreement on Wednesday, of which the Iran regime has signed a five-year contract to continue the export of natural gas for use in Iraq’s power generating plants.

Iraq will import up to 50 million cubic meters per day of the vital fuel; prior, Iraq had been procuring approximately half of that amount from Iranian suppliers, according to The Foreign Desk News.

The outlet notes this relationship between American adversaries has often brought criticism from Washington because the imports and their payments are subject to U.S. sanctions. The government in Baghdad must ask for waivers from the State Department to complete their purchases.

The Foreign Desk News goes on to explain:

Iran’s national gas company has been provisioning their neighbor for the last 10 years, as Iraq has long suffered domestic production problems due to corruption and inadequate infrastructure.

Most of the natural gas that Iraq imports is used to produce power for an unstable and maintenance-prone electrical grid. Service outages are common amid the country’s growing consumption and many residents frequently must rely on private generators during times of disruption.

Including the electricity that Iraq directly purchases from Iran, the Islamic republic is reported to be responsible for supplying nearly a quarter of the country’s total power use.



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VP Kamala Harris publicly mourns Palestinians killed in hostage rescue operation



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Vice President Kamala Harris mourned the Palestinians in Gaza who were killed in the successful Israeli hostage rescue operation this weekend during an address delivered over the weekend.

Israeli forces say Hamas intentionally kept the hostages in a “civilian environment.” They also said even the Palestinians who were holding the hostages were also “civilians.”

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari of the IDF said Hamas has been holding hostages inside civilian buildings, including the locations where Israeli forces rescued Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 22, Shlomi Ziv, 41, and Andrey Kozlov, 27.

“Before I begin, I just say a few words about the morning which I know weighs heavily on all of our hearts,” she said.

“On Oct. 7, Hamas committed a brutal massacre of 1,200 innocent people and abducted 250 hostages,” she continued. “Thankfully, four of those hostages were reunited with their families tonight. And we mourn all of the innocent lives that have been lost in Gaza, including those tragically killed today.”

The Israeli operation retrieved four hostages who were taken into Gaza by Hamas on Oct. 7. Harris, speaking before the Michigan Democratic Party, celebrated their retrieval but spent more time lamenting the deaths of Palestinians killed in the operation, many of whom Israel has described as terrorists.

“We have been working every day to bring an end to this conflict in a way that ensures Israel is secure, brings home all hostages, ends ongoing suffering for Palestinian people and ensures that Palestinians can enjoy their right to self-determination, dignity and freedom,” Harris added. “As President Biden said last week, it is time for this war to end.”

Fox News reports that Hamas-run authorities in Gaza claim over 270 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli operation, though they make no distinction between militants and innocents. Israeli forces claim the number was fewer than 100.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan also confirmed reports on Sunday that some number of innocents appeared to have been killed in the operation.

“We the United States are not in a position today to make a definitive statement about [the death toll],” Sullivan said in a Sunday interview with CNN. “But we do know this: innocent people were tragically killed in this operation. The exact number we don’t know, but innocent people were killed.”

“Every day that we see more innocent people lost is another horrible, awful, tragic day,” he added.

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