The United States said on Thursday it was going an extra mile for countries like India to find a substitute for Iranian oil so that they are not adversely affected after the second round of sanctions against Tehran comes into effect in November, PTI reported. The US has made similar statements in the past too.
“I’ve had conversations [with Indian officials on purchase of Iranian oil],” United States National Security Adviser John Bolton told reporters at a White House news conference. “Others in the administration have had conversations with senior Indian officials.”
“One of the things I think that’s important, whether it’s for Iraq or India or anyone else – particularly that’s been a purchaser of Iranian oil – we’ve gone to really extra lengths to try and find substitute sellers of oil so that there would be alternative supplies at market rates,” Bolton said. “That will help. This is something, obviously, the Obama administration wasn’t doing at all. And I think this will help toward our effort of persuading companies and governments, particularly in Asia, that there are alternatives to Iran that they can pursue.”
He said: “It’s our objective that there be no waivers from the sanctions, that exports of Iranian oil and gas drop to zero. I’m not saying we’re necessarily going to achieve that, but nobody should be operating under any illusions, what the objective is. You can look at the possibility of reductions leading to zero. It doesn’t have to happen immediately, perhaps.”
He added: “But ‘this is not the Obama administration,’ would be my message not just to Iran but to everybody else. And the frequency and the ease of getting waivers and exemptions is not going to be our policy.” Bolton also said that the United States will not stop with the resumption of sanctions that existed before 2015. “We’re looking at others that we can impose as well.”
In August, Trump reimposed economic sanctions against Tehran and said that anyone doing business with Iran would not be doing business with the US.
With the sanctions to come into force from November 4, the US expects all countries, including India, to reduce their Iranian oil imports to zero. However, the sanctions are not authorised by the United Nations and India traditionally only enforces sanctions endorsed by the world body. Last week, Tehran said India will continue to buy oil from Iran despite the US’ warnings.
In May, Trump pulled the US out of a nuclear agreement that the administration of former President Barack Obama had signed with Iran, calling it “decaying and rotten”.