NEW DELHI: India has asserted that it is engaged with the Trump administration on the issue of US waiver on import of Iranian crude oil, which expires early next month.
“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.
Last 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 in May first week.
Waiver for Iranian oil was a key item on agenda of dialogue when foreign secretary V K Gokhale met US Secretary of State Mark Pompeo and his counterpart in the US State Department last month, ET has learnt. India is hopeful of waiver following series of meetings following reduction in oil imports from Tehran, sources indicated.
India received waiver to import Iranian oil following US decision to abrogate nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Tehran last year. It is important for the Modi government to have stability in oil prices in an election season.
India wants to keep buying Iranian oil at its current level of about 300,000 barrels per day (bpd), sources informed. Iran remains a strong security partner besides being Indias gateway to Afghanistan, Central Asia, Russia and Eurasia.
India has reduced its purchases of Iranian oil, but has been in talks on extending a sanctions waiver, known as a significant reduction exception, the sources added.
Delhi has been asking Washington to be allowed to still buy Iranian oil at current levels of around 1.25 million tonnes per month, equal to about 300,000 bpd, the sources said.
The US reimposed sanctions against Iran last November in a dispute over Tehran’s nuclear and missile ambitions, after President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers.