India-Iran ties

India will lose special privileges if it reduces Iranian crude oil imports, warns Tehran

Deputy Ambassador Massoud Rezvanian Rahaghi’s warning came days after the United States asked its allies to stop oil imports from Iran by November 4.

A senior Iranian diplomat has warned India that Tehran will end “special privileges” for New Delhi if it attempts to replace Iranian crude with supplies from Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States, PTI reported.

“In previous round of US sanctions between 2012 [and] 2015, Iran did its best to ensure security of oil supply to India,” Iran’s Deputy Ambassador and Charge d’Affaires Massoud Rezvanian Rahaghi said at an event organised by the All India Minorities Front at the Parliament annexe on Tuesday.

“However, if India were to replace Iran with countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq, US and others for 10% of its oil demand then it may have to revert to dollar-denominated imports,” Rahaghi said. He added that this would “mean higher CAD [current account deficit] and deprivation of all other privileges Iran has offered to India”.

The warning came days after the United States asked its allies, including India, to stop importing crude oil from Iran by November 4. India has said it will engage with relevant stakeholders to ensure that energy security is not compromised.

Rahaghi also criticised New Delhi for not fulfilling its promise to invest in the expansion of the strategically-located Chabahar port, The Hindu reported. The port is India’s gateway to trade with Iran, Afghanistan and central Asian countries and will allow it to bypass Pakistan, which has denied New Delhi transit access. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated the first phase of the port project in December.

The senior envoy said Tehran understands India’s energy requirements, and added that Iran is still an open market for Indian requirements such as petroleum, urea and liquefied natural gas.

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