Iran minister to visit India, discuss tackling US curbs
With US sanctions impending, India’s oil imports from Iran declined by 15.9% in June
New Delhi: Iran will send its deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi for talks with New Delhi next week as both countries try to find the best way of steering through the coming sanctions that will be imposed by the US from November 4.
Araqchi’s visit is significant as he is a point person for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the Iran nuclear deal. His visit comes after a senior Iranian diplomat earlier this week was quoted as threatening India with retaliatory measures if it reduced oil purchases.
India’s oil imports from Iran declined by 15.9% in June, although it increased its intake after Tehran of- fered free shipping and extended credit period of 60 days. That this will diminish significantly is quite clear to both sides.
Foreign ministry officials called in the Iranian diplomat for a rare censure after his speech was reported in the media, and he said he was misquoted.
However, India has taken heart from remarks this week by US secretary of state Mike Pompeo where he indicated that some countries could get a waiver. “There will be a handful countries that come to of the US and ask for relief from (sanctions). We’ll consider it,” Pompeo said.
Sources said Washington would try to prevent Iran from diverting oil to consumers via Iraq among other similar moves. But if the US gives India some waiver for “significant reductions” that still puts India in a tough spot. It might save Chabahar and the Central Asian connectivity corridor, something very close to Indian strategy.
What might help Iran is the fact that there is actually a supply problem in the world right now. US shale is being pumped out but poor pipeline infrastructure is proving to be a problem. Saudi Arabia has promised to pump an addition 2 million barrels a day but energy experts say it cannot be more than 1million.