India seeking to resume oil imports from Iran

May 29, 2019

TEHRAN – India is planning to resume oil imports from Iran and the new government is going to hold talks with Iran in order to discuss ways of getting around U.S. sanctions like paying in national currencies.

“The Modi government will immediately initiate talks with Iran to discuss steps that will allow it to resume oil imports,” India digital news portal The Print reported on Tuesday quoting government sources.

According to the sources, Iran’s Pasargad Bank and India’s Reserve Bank could be used to arrange the payments.

“Payments can be deposited in the Iranian bank and then Iranian authorities can decide how to utilize the money,” a senior government official who didn’t wish to be identified said.

“These talks have been held earlier too but got stalled due to elections. They will be revived and this will be one of the first focus areas of the government.” the official said.

India stopped oil imports from Iran after the six-month sanction waiver from the U.S. ended on 2 May.

In May last year, the U.S. brought back sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal which was struck in 2015.

They told India and other countries to cut oil imports from the Persian Gulf nation to "zero" by November 4 or face sanctions. However, Washington granted a six-month waiver to India and seven other countries to buy oil from Iran. The waivers are due to expire in May.

India, which is the second biggest purchaser of Iranian oil after China, has since then restricted its monthly purchase to 15 million tons in a year (300,000 barrels per day), down from 22.6 million tons (452,000 barrels per day) bought in 2017-18 financial year, sources said.

The world's third biggest oil consumer, meets more than 80 percent of its oil needs through imports.

EF/MA

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