No waiver from US sanctions on oil imports from Iran

India has been putting up a strong resistance to growing pressure from  American President Donald Trump's administration to stop crude oil import from Iran. Reuters file photo for representation.

The United States on Thursday refrained from committing a waiver for India from the sanctions President Donald Trump's administration would impose on November 4 next to cut down energy exports from Iran.

The US move to impose sanctions on Iran and its implication on India's crude oil imports from the Islamic Republic were among the issues discussed in the first “2+2 dialogue”, which External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held with American Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of Defence, James N Mattis.

India has been putting up a strong resistance to growing pressure from  American President Donald Trump's administration to stop crude oil import from Iran.

New Delhi used the 2+2 dialogue to explain to the American government once again why the crude oil import from Iran was important for energy security of India.

India is the second largest buyer of crude oil from Iran and purportedly imported over 7,68,000 barrels of crude oil a day from the West Asian nation in July.

Iran, on the other hand, is the third largest supplier of oil to India.

US pressure

“We have told the Indians consistently, as we have told every nation, that on November 4th the sanctions with respect to Iranian crude oil will be enforced, and that we will consider waivers where appropriate, but that it is our expectation that the purchases of Iranian crude oil will go to zero for every country, or sanctions will be imposed,” Pompeo told journalists.

Sources said that the US on Thursday stepped up pressure on India to substantially cut down oil import from Iran even if it could not completely stop it by November 4.

The quantum of reduction in India's energy imports from Iran and the timeline for bringing it down remained “an unresolved issue” between New Delhi and Washington, sources said.

Pompeo, however, said that the US would continue to discuss the issue with India.

“So, we’ll work with the Indians. It takes a little bit of time to unwind; I am sure to find an outcome that makes sense,” said the US Secretary of State.

Iran's vessels

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

New Delhi of late decided to allow India's state-owned refineries to import oil from Iran in vessels provided by National Iranian Tanker Company as well as insurance cover provided by state agencies of the Islamic Republic. The move is intended to protect the Shipping Corporation of India from the impending US sanctions.

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No waiver from US sanctions on oil imports from Iran

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