Iran min­is­ter to visit India, dis­cuss tack­ling US curbs

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - | POLITICS POLICY - @times­

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.

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