US may grant India waiver from oil-import sanctions

US may grant India waiver from oil-import sanctions

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The United States on Tuesday indicated that it might grant a waiver for India to continue importing crude oil from Iran— albeit in a lesser quantity — even after it would impose sanctions, targeting energy exports from the Islamic Republic.

The officials of India and the United States met here to explore possibility of granting New Delhi a waiver from the sanctions President Donald Trump's administration in Washington would soon impose to curb energy exports from Iran.

They held discussion on the quantum of crude oil India should be able to import from Iran, without being subjected to US sanctions, sources told the DH.

The US delegation was led by American Treasury Department's Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing, Marshall Billingslea. The government of India was represented by senior diplomats of the ministry of external affairs, as well as officials of the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, ministry of commerce and ministry of finance.

India is the second largest buyer of crude oil from Iran. Iran on the other hand is the third largest supplier of oil for India.

India purportedly imported over 7,00,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Iran in May, with the average for the first five months of the current year being over 5,00,000 barrels a day.

The US recently set November 4 as the deadline for the countries like India, China and others to stop importing crude oil from Iran. The US stated that it would reimpose sanctions targeting the energy sector of Iran on November 4 and the nations, which would continue to import oil from the Islamic Republic beyond that date, would be subjected to “secondary sanctions”.

New Delhi earlier stated that India's decision on future imports of crude oil from Iran would be guided by its own national interest, not by the diktat of any third country.

A day before holding talks with the officials from Washington, New Delhi on Monday discussed with Tehran the implications of the impending sanctions on India's crude oil import from Iran.

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and his counterpart in the Iranian government, Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araghchi, met in New Delhi and discussed ways to continue crude oil import from Iran to India after imposition of the US sanctions.

The US started the process of reimposing sanctions on Iran after Trump announced in May his decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal Tehran inked with America, four other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Germany and European Union.

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