India keeps Iran oil import cut pledge under wraps

New Delhi welcomed the waiver the US granted it from the sanctions President Donald Trump's Administration imposed on energy exports from Iran on November 4.

India on Friday declined to make public the details of its commitment to the US on bringing down its crude oil import from Iran.

New Delhi welcomed the waiver the US granted it from the sanctions President Donald Trump's Administration imposed on energy exports from Iran on November 4.

India is among the eight countries Trump Administration has granted the waivers, enabling them to continue importing crude oil from Iran without exposing their entities to the US sanctions.

“We have seen the US notification, including India in the list of countries granted Significant Reduction Exemption for continued purchase of Iranian crude oil without attracting US sanctions,” Raveesh Kumar, official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said. “We appreciate that the US government has taken in to account our need for energy security and understood our sensitivities on this matter.”

He, however, declined to make public the quantum of cut India pledged to make in its crude oil import from Iran in order to secure the waiver from the US.

“I am not at liberty to give you details about the quantum of crude oil that we will continue to import,” said the MEA spokesperson.

The US on November 4 re-imposed economic sanctions on Iran, particularly targeting the energy exports from the West Asian nation. The sanctions came into effect almost six months after Trump Administration in Washington DC decided to withdraw from the deal US, four other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Germany and European Union had inked with Iran in 2015 to end the row over the controversial nuclear programme of the Islamic republic.

The US has since been nudging India to cut down its energy import from Iran.

India is the second largest buyer of crude oil from Iran.

New Delhi has been resisting pressure from the US to cut down its oil import from Iran, citing the rising demand of the growing economy of India.

“India is a major importer of crude oil from Iran. This is very important for our own energy security needs. We appreciate the fact that US has shown understanding of our position and have said that their intention is not to hurt India,” Kumar said on Friday.

Mike Pompeo, American Secretary of State, on November 2 announced the exemptions for India, China and six other nations from US sanctions on energy imports from Iran.

The media reports quoted him saying that the waivers had been granted only to the countries, which had significantly brought down their energy imports from Iran since May.

New Delhi and Washington have been negotiating on the issue of the quantum of reduction in India's energy imports from Iran and the time-line for bringing it down.

Sources said that New Delhi had conveyed to Washington that it should be allowed to continue to import 3,00,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Iran — a substantial reduction from normal volumes of around 4,50,000 to 5,50,000 barrels per day.

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India keeps Iran oil import cut pledge under wraps

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