India on Thursday reiterated that it was engaged with the United States, Iran and other stakeholders regarding American sanctions on the import of oil from Tehran, PTI reported.
The US administration’s renewed sanctions on Iran are set to come into effect on November 5. The US expects all countries, including India, to reduce their Iranian oil imports to zero by then. The Indian government has previously said it is in touch with both the US and Iran ahead of the sanctions and “will do everything possible to safeguard its energy needs”.
Asked about reports that the US was going to grant India waiver from the Iran sanctions, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the government has not yet heard anything from Washington.
“As far as the US is concerned, they are well aware about our expectations of the requirement of oil, which is very critical for sustaining our domestic growth,” Kumar said at a press meeting. “We continue to engage with the US and other stakeholders to ensure that our energy security is not compromised.”
Iran is India’s third-largest oil supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Iran supplied 18.4 million tonnes of crude oil between April 2017 and January 2018.
In October, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said Indian companies will continue to import crude oil from Iran in November despite US sanctions. “We do not know if we will get waiver [from US sanctions] or not,” Pradhan had said. “We will be guided by our national interest.”
The US has said 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.
In August, Trump reimposed economic sanctions against Tehran and said that anyone doing business with Iran would not be doing business with the US. However, the sanctions are not authorised by the United Nations, and India traditionally only enforces sanctions endorsed by the world body.