Tuesday 25 January 2022
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US expects India to reduce oil imports from Iran to zero by November

On the Russia-related sanction threat to India, he said it goes far beyond the likely purchase of the S-400 systems

New Delhi: The United States has agreed to engage India and explore a mutually agreeable solution on the issue of purchase of Iranian oil despite its deadline for countries to halt imports, an official familiar with discussions at the 2+2 Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi said on Thursday.

“We have told the Indians consistently… that on November 4th the 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 from every country, or sanctions will be imposed. So we’ll work with the Indians. We committed that we would do that,” Pompeo said.

He said that with respect to the S-400 deal, no decision had been taken.

The US has said that countries need to reduce the import of oil from Iran to zero, though they “would consider waivers” and from the that are planned to begin on 4 November. The Trump administration had exited a 2015 deal between Iran and six world powers after a pact intended to stall Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Indian officials maintained that “it would not be a viable proposition for India to reduce the oil imports Iran to zero. The US understands our concerns and both sides will continue with the discussions on the issue,” the first official said.

India is the biggest buyer of oil from Iran after China, and it is seeking a waiver from the US. Iran is a key partner for India and the two countries are engaged in the development of the strategically significant Chabahar port, which would give land-locked Afghanistan access to the sea, bypassing Pakistan.

For the benefit it would bring to Afghanistan, India has urged the US for a carve-out for the Chabahar port. The US on Iran cover ports, too. The petroleum sector sanctions will kick in on 4 November.

After the talks on Thursday, the second Indian official said: “We hope the US would understand the significance of our ties with Iran as well as our imperatives as a major oil exporting country. We have been assured that the US would help us meet the challenge. But the ties with Iran are important for us. We are hopeful of a finding a solution through the discussions that don’t affect our economic priorities and ties with Iran and factors in our relationship with the US.”

 

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