The United States is “carefully reviewing” India’s decisions to go ahead with oil purchases from Iran and an agreement with Russia for the supply of S-400 Triumpf missile systems, PTI reported on Friday.
President Donald Trump in August reimposed economic sanctions against Tehran and said that anyone doing business with Iran would not be doing business with the US. The US expects all countries, including India, to reduce their Iranian oil imports to zero. The sanctions come into effect from November 4.
Earlier this week, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said Indian companies will continue to import crude oil from Iran next month despite US sanctions. On Thursday, US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said the decision was “not helpful”.
In a department briefing, Nauert said the US had clarified its policies to its allies. “We believe that countries coming together and recognising the malign influence that Iran has had around the world is important,” she said. “We know that Iran and the government of Iran has taken the benefits that it received under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and they have poured that money not into their own population, not into the good of the people, not into its medical hospitals and things of that nature, but rather they’ve used it for its own nefarious programmes.”
Nauert said that Trump had earlier addressed the issue of potential sanctions when he said that India would “soon find out” if Washington intends to impose punitive sanctions after New Delhi’s defence deal with Russia. India has reportedly requested a waiver from US sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, under which countries that sign deals with Russian defence or intelligence sectors can face secondary sanctions.
“He [Trump] was asked also about CAATSA sanctions and possible imposition of CAATSA sanctions and said India is going to find out,” said Nauert. “So I’m not going to get ahead of him, but certainly when we hear about things such as purchasing oil or the S-400 systems, it’s not helpful. The United States government just reviews that very carefully.”
The State Department said that Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook will meet Indian government counterparts for consultations, reported the Hindustan Times. He will be accompanied by Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Francis Fannon.
Hook “will engage our allies and partners on our shared need to counter the entirety of the Iranian regime’s destructive behaviour in the Middle East, and in their own neighbourhoods”, said a department note.