India is likely to be in among eight countries which can temporarily import oil from Iran post sanctions, sources indicated Friday.
US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo said that the US has agreed to exempt eight countries since they have made “significant reductions” in oil imports. US sanctions on Iran will kick in November 5.
“We expect to issue some temporary allotments to eight jurisdictions, but only because they have demonstrated significant reductions in their crude oil and cooperation on many other fronts and have made important moves towards getting to zero crude oil importation. These negotiations are still ongoing. Two of the jurisdictions will completely end imports as part of their agreements. The other six will import at greatly reduced levels,” Pompeo told reporters in Washington DC, during a conference call with Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin.
Pompeo said that countries like India, if granted exemption, would be asked to bring down oil imports from Iran to zero in six months. Negotiations are still ongoing, he said while explaining the reasons for not revealing the names of the countries to be exempted.
The US announced its intention to re-impose sanctions on Iran from November 5, as US President Donald Trump tweeted a picture of himself in a Game of Thrones-style poster which said, “sanctions are coming”.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 2, 2018
“President @realDonaldTrump is reimposing all sanctions lifted under the unacceptable Iran deal. The U.S. is reimposing the toughest sanctions ever on Iran, targeting many of the corrupt regime’s critical sectors,” the White House tweeted.
India, which is the second biggest buyer of Iranian oil after China, is being pushed by the US to restrict its monthly purchase to 1.25 million tonnes or 15 million tonnes a year (300,000 barrels per day), down from 22.6 million tonnes (452,000 barrels per day) bought in 2017-18 financial year, according to sources.
New Delhi, however, had pushed back on zero oil imports citing the adverse impact on its economy and the inflationary impact it would have.
In September, during the Indo-US 2+2 dialogue, the US told the Indian side that it is not in Washington’s interest to damage the Indian economy. External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Pompeo had discussed the issue of oil imports from Iran.