Af­ter Iran sanc­tions, US says cog­nizant of In­dia’s oil needs

Business Standard - - ECONOMY - PRESS TRUST OF IN­DIA

With a tougher round of US sanc­tions on Iran com­ing into ef­fect from Novem­ber 4, a top Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial said that Wash­ing­ton recog­nises In­dia’s need for sig­nif­i­cant oil im­ports and is hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions to en­sure there are al­ter­na­tive sup­plies of the fuel “so that our friend In­dia’s econ­omy is not ad­versely af­fected”.

Ear­lier this year, the US had with­drawn from the 2015 Ira­nian nu­clear deal and reim­posed a se­ries of tough sanc­tions on Iran.

While the first phase of sanc­tions is al­ready in place, the sanc­tions would come into full force on Novem­ber 4 and the US ex­pects all coun­tries, in­clud­ing In­dia, to bring down their im­port of Ira­nian oil to zero by then.

The US has made it clear that any coun­try that con­tin­ues to do busi­ness with Iran will be blocked from ac­cess­ing the Amer­i­can bank­ing and fi­nan­cial sys­tem.

How­ever, the sanc­tions are not en­dorsed by the UN and it has been a tra­di­tional pol­icy of In­dia to en­force only UNSC-au­tho­rised sanc­tions.

Though In­dia, one of the big­gest im­porters of Ira­nian oil, has al­ready re­duced its im­ports, it has in­di­cated that it is un­likely to go down to zero be­cause of its mas­sive en­ergy needs.

“The United States is con­sult­ing with all of its friends and part­ners to dis­cuss the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the sanc­tions af­ter the snap­back...we recog­nise In­dia has a need for sig­nif­i­cant oil im­ports. Part of the con­ver­sa­tion is how to en­sure that there are al­ter­na­tive sup­plies of oil so that our friend In­dia’s econ­omy is not ad­versely af­fected,” Prin­ci­pal Deputy As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary for the Bureau of South and Cen­tral Asia Re­gion Alice Wells told PTI in New York.

She said In­dian pri­vate sec­tor firms are ex­plor­ing new sup­pli­ers of crude oil and the con­ver­sa­tion be­tween the US and In­dian ex­perts con­tin­ues on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the sanc­tions, adding that Amer­ica looks for­ward to con­tin­u­ing what is a very con­struc­tive di­a­logue.

When asked about the im­pact of the US sanc­tions on projects such as the Chaba­har project, Wells said the is­sue of Chaba­har is un­der close re­view.

“We very much ap­pre­ci­ate what In­dia has done to pro­vide both as­sis­tance to Afghanistan, in­clud­ing through us­ing Chaba­har Port for the de­liv­ery of wheat. We also very much ap­pre­ci­ate what In­dia has done to al­low Afghanistan to di­ver­sify its trade re­la­tion­ships, and again Chaba­har has played a role there. So those fac­tors will cer­tainly be taken un­der con­sid­er­a­tion,” she said. The Chaba­har port is be­ing con­sid­ered a gate­way to golden op­por­tu­ni­ties for trade by In­dia, Iran and Afghanistan with cen­tral Asian coun­tries be­sides ramp­ing up trade among the three coun­tries in the wake of Pak­istan deny­ing tran­sit ac­cess to New Delhi.

In May 2016, In­dia, Iran and Afghanistan had inked a pact which en­tailed es­tab­lish­ment of Tran­sit and Trans­port Cor­ri­dor among the three coun­tries us­ing Chaba­har Port as one of the re­gional hubs for sea trans­porta­tion in Iran, be­sides multi-modal trans­port of goods and pas­sen­gers across the three na­tions.

Though In­dia, one of the big­gest im­porters of Ira­nian oil, has al­ready re­duced its im­port, it has in­di­cated that it’s un­likely to go down to zero given its mas­sive en­ergy needs

Prime Min­is­ter Narenda Modi with US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump

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