September 22, 2019

India stops purchases of Iranian oil as US waivers expire

That’s according to India’s Ambassador to the US, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who said the country will comply with the US sanctions on Tehran.

“We do understand that this has been a priority for the US administration, although it comes at a cost to us because we really need to find alternative sources of energy,” Shringla said at a news conference in Washington on Thursday.

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He added that India has stopped importing oil from both Iran and Venezuela.

The world’s third-biggest oil consumer, India, was among the four major Asian buyers of Iranian oil. As of late April, it had dropped its dependency on Iranian oil from about 2.5 million tons a month to 1 million tons. Iran used to supply 10 percent of India’s oil needs.

According to Shringla, India depends heavily on the Middle East for its energy needs and is against any further escalation of tensions in the region.

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“We would not like to see any move towards any escalation in that area… for the simple reason that we depend very heavily on stability in that part of the world. Their supplies are a major part of our energy requirements,” he said.

US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 nuclear deal signed between Tehran and a group of nations. Afterwards, Washington resumed sanctions against Iran and threatened to punish any country that violates the embargo.

India together with several other nations, including South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Greece, Japan, China, and Italy, won a temporary waiver from Washington to gradually reduce its energy purchases from Iran after the White House re-imposed sanctions on the country.

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The US ended all the waivers on May 2 as part of a strategy to reduce Iran’s crude oil exports to zero.

US State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus told reporters Washington wanted all countries to stop importing oil from Iran.

“We want the whole world to comply with these sanctions, and we’re grateful for our partners and allies that are respecting them,” she said, when asked about India’s decision.

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