Oil imports: Amid US-Iran heat, Tehran sends minister to India

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Published: May 14, 2019 1:29:47 AM

With the US ending sanctions exemption to India for importing Iran oil after May 1, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is reaching India late on Monday night and will meet external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday.

According to the ministry of external affairs, Zarif is scheduled to meet Swaraj on Tuesday morning.

With the US ending sanctions exemption to India for importing Iran oil after May 1, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is reaching India late on Monday night and will meet external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday.

Zarif is making the trip three weeks after US President Donald Trump decided to squeeze Iran, announcing that it will no longer grant sanctions exemption to Iran’s oil customers. The end of the waiver meant India cannot import oil from Iran, or else its state-owned or private entities will face US sanctions.

According to the ministry of external affairs, Zarif is scheduled to meet Swaraj on Tuesday morning. The two sides are likely to discuss the impact of the US decision and how to deal with it.

Zarif and Swaraj are also likely to discuss the future of the Chabahar port project because the Trump administration has assured that exemption on Chabahar will continue.

Sources said the Iranian oil import issue was flagged during US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross’s visit last week, but there hasn’t been any sign of flexibility from the US side.

The US policy towards Iran was announced in May 2018, and all countries were given six months till November to bring down oil imports to zero. In November, Washington gave a six-month waiver to eight countries, including India, to bring down oil imports to zero.

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