U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Tuesday he discussed sanctions against Iran with Iraqi energy officials as Washington pressures Baghdad to stop importing Iranian gas that is crucial for its power grid.

“Sanctions were mentioned, they’re a reality, they’re there,” Perry told reporters in Baghdad after meeting Iraq’s oil and electricity ministers, without providing further details of the discussion.

Washington gave Iraq a 45-day waiver over imports of Iranian gas when it reimposed sanctions on Iran’s oil sector on Nov. 5. Iraqi officials have said they need around two years to wean themselves off Iranian gas imports and find an alternative source.

“This (Iraqi) administration recognises … the imperative to move with some expedition to send a message to the United States … that this is an administration that is going to move with speed to develop infrastructure especially in the energy sector that best serves the citizens of Iraq,” Perry said.

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By Ian Dei

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