India engages with US to ensure energy security amid Iran sanctions

Ivan Schwartz
September 23, 2018

Earlier this year, US President Donald Trump announced new sanctions against the country after the withdrawal of an global nuclear deal with Iran.

Although oil sanctions come into effect on 4 November, US threats have pushed European and Asian buyers (especially in India and Japan) to cut their purchases.

It is unclear by when the U.S. would decide on granting waiver to India.

Given the above issue, South Korean companies did not cut their trade and business cooperation with the Iranian economic enterprises in sanctions period, the ambassador reiterated. The EU has promised to protect its business interests against the impact of U.S. sanctions against Iran. "And if they do, we will get it right", Pompeo told Fox News in an interview. As part of the ongoing negotiations, India has offered to make a significant cut in its purchase from Iran to win waiver from the United States but a final word on it is still away, people familiar with the matter said.

The US' sanctions on the import of Iranian petroleum products will be effective from November 4.

"India's position has generally been that it will only enforce sanctions authorised by UN Security Council resolutions, rendering it likely that India will resist USA efforts to compel it to comply with reimposed United States sanctions such as those that mandate cuts in oil purchases from Iran", the independent Congressional Research Service (CRS) said in its latest report on Iran.

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Earlier, India was looking at the possibility of falling back on the rupee-rial arrangement for importing oil from Iran in the wake of United States sanctions.

UCO Bank and IDBI Bank have been identified to route the payment as the two have no exposure to the U.S. financial system.

In September, the trend of reduced Iranian oil exports has continued, and analysts expect further cuts from some of Iran's oil customers.

The Union government on Friday made a decision to settle payments for Iranian oil in rupee through the Mumbai branch of an Iranian bank.

Reuters in June reported that India is looking to revive the its earlier rupee payment mechanism with Iran. It was India's second biggest supplier of crude oil after Saudi Arabia till 2010-11 but Western sanctions over its suspected nuclear programme relegated it to the seventh spot in the subsequent years.

During the previous sanctions, India used to make payments through Ankara-based Halk Bank and UCO Bank.

Other reports by GizPress

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