As the US waiver on import of Iranian crude oil expires next month, India Thursday said it was engaged with the Trump administration on the issue. In November, the US granted a six-month waiver to India, China, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and South Korea to continue importing oil from Iran.
The temporary waiver ends on May 2.
“We are engaged with the US….The important thing is that we will continue our engagement with the US on the issue,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said during a media briefing.
India had won the exemption from the US sanctions after it agreed to cut oil imports from Iran.
In May last year, the US brought back sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal which was struck in 2015.
The US has told India and other countries to cut oil imports from the Gulf nation to “zero” by November 4 or face sanctions. However, the US granted a six-month waiver to India and seven other countries to buy oil from Iran.
India, which is the second biggest purchaser of Iranian oil after China, has since then restricted its monthly purchase to 1.25 million tonne or 15 million tonne in a year (300,000 barrels per day), down from 22.6 million tonne (452,000 barrels per day) bought in 2017-18 financial year, sources said.
India, the world’s third biggest oil consumer, meets more than 80 per cent of its oil needs through imports. Iran is its third largest supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia and meets about 10 per cent of total needs.
India is expected to increase import of oil from countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates if the US does not extend the six-month-long waiver it granted to New Delhi and several other countries to buy oil from Iran.