US pushes India, other allies to cut all imports of Iranian oil
The US has told countries to cut all imports of Iranian oil from November and is unlikely to offer any exemptions, a senior State Department official said on June 26 as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on allies to cut off funding to Iran, reported Reuters.
Publish date : Monday 2 July 2018 13:42
India’s Oil and Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told reporters in Mumbai that the country would attend to its interests while deciding on oil imports.
India’s oil ministry has asked refiners to prepare for a ‘drastic reduction or zero’ imports of Iranian oil from November, two industry sources said, the first sign that New Delhi is responding to a push by the US to cut trade ties with Iran.
India has said it does not recognize unilateral restrictions imposed by the US, and instead follows UN sanctions. But the industry sources said India, the biggest buyer of Iranian oil after China, will be forced to take action to protect its exposure to the US financial system.
The oil ministry held a meeting with refiners on Thursday, urging them to scout for alternatives to Iranian oil, the sources said. “(India) has asked refiners to be prepared for any eventuality, since the situation is still evolving. There could be drastic reduction or there could be no import at all,” said one of the sources with knowledge of the matter.
US President Donald Trump in May said his administration was withdrawing from the “defective” nuclear deal agreed between Iran and six world powers in July 2015, aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions, and ordered the reimposition of US sanctions against Tehran that were suspended under the accord.
During the previous round of sanctions, India was one of the few countries that continued to buy Iranian oil, although it had to reduce imports as shipping, insurance and banking channels were choked due to the European and US sanctions.