India engaged with all stakeholders on Iranian oil import issue: MEA

By: | Published: October 18, 2018 10:34 PM

India Thursday said it was engaged with the US, Iran and other stakeholders on the issue of American sanctions on import of Iranian oil which will come into effect from November 4.

Iranian oil import, india, US , iran, raveesh kumar, Mike Pompeo, Iraq, Iran nuclear deal Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Raveesh Kumar said India has already conveyed to the US about its position on the matter. (Reuters)

India Thursday said it was engaged with the US, Iran and other stakeholders on the issue of American sanctions on import of Iranian oil which will come into effect from November 4. Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Raveesh Kumar said India has already conveyed to the US about its position on the matter. Asked about how India will make the payments to Russia for the S-400 missile deal, Kumar said India is also engaged with the US on the issue.

“We are engaged with the US on the matter. We have shared our position with the US sides at different levels. These discussions have contributed to a better understanding by the US about our objectives and concerns as well as our sensitivities and expectations,” he said.

On October 5, India and Russia signed the USD 5 billion S-400 air defence system deal, notwithstanding US sanctions on military transactions with Moscow. On US sanctions on import of Iranian oil from November 4, Kumar said, “Our discussions are on with Iran and other stakeholders. It will not be proper to go into the details how we will deal with the situation.” He said US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook held talks with officials of various relevant ministries here on the issue.

“We have conveyed to him that the price of crude oil is a matter of concern for our domestic economy and directly affects the common people,” he said at a press briefing. Kumar said India’s “expectations” have been made known to the US side, adding India appreciated the statement made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that intention of imposing sanctions on Iran is not to hurt India. “We do intend to continue our engagement with the US and other statekeholders to ensure our energy security and to protect our national interests,” Kumar said. He said India was trying to see how it can find a solution to the issue. There has been indication that India may not totally stop import of crude oil from Iran.

Kumar said India will do everything possible to ensure the country’s energy security. In May, the US brought back sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal which was struck in 2015. The US has told India and other countries to cut oil imports from the Gulf nation to “zero” by November 4 or face sanctions.

Iran is India’s third-largest oil supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Iran supplied 18.4 million tonnes of crude oil between April 2017 and January 2018 (first 10 months of fiscal 2017-18). Sources said India is also looking at the possibility of falling back on the rupee-rial arrangement for importing oil from Iran in the wake of US sanctions.

The rupee-rial arrangement was used to buy oil from Iran before sanctions were lifted against it three years ago. Under the mechanism, India used to pay in euros to clear 55 per cent of its dues through Ankara-based Halk bank. The remaining 45 per cent payment was remitted in rupees in accounts Iranian oil companies had with the Uco Bank.

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