New Delhi, Nov 2: With an over 30% reduction in imports of oil from Iran in the past few months, India is hoping to be eligible for a waiver on Iran oil sanctions from this weekend. The US State department is expected to announce sanctions and waivers as the deadline for “zero oil imports” from Iran kicks in on November 5.
A state department spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday, “on November 5th 12:01, sanctions that were lifted under the Iran nuclear deal will come back into full effect. And the sanctions that are reimposed on November 5 will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy, such as energy, shipping and the ship-building sectors, as well as the provision of insurance and transactions involving the Central Bank of Iran and designated Iranian financial institutions.”
Questioned on the possibility of sanctions or waiver, US ambassador to India, Ken Juster sidestepped questions from journalists on the margins of a conference on connectivity, refusing to answer in advance of official pronouncement from Washington.
Indian private sector entities like Reliance have already stopped picking up Iranian crude. However, Essar-Nyara, sources said, has been buying some Iranian oil on the spot market. Indian public refineries like Mangalore has also been buying Iranian oil but not in the numbers that they were earlier.
Indian officials, in their discussions with US counterparts have pointed out that first, Indian refineries are configured to work with Iranian crude, and second, Iran still offers better credit, insurance and freight terms to Indian buyers, which remains a key consideration.