India will continue to import Iranian oil despite US sanctions – Ministry

Sputnik – A day after Washington threatened to impose further economic sanctions against Iran, India once again reiterated that it will continue to import Iranian crude oil to fulfill the country’s energy needs.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs has stated that it will engage with all stakeholders as far as matters related to country’s energy security are concerned.

“We have had several rounds of meeting with Iran and several other stakeholders. I can tell you that India continues to import oil from Iran. We have got a waiver in this regard and we will continue to be engaged with all the stakeholders as far as matters related to India’s energy security are concerned,” Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, said on Friday afternoon during weekly media briefing.

S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier stated that countries across the globe have cut out Iranian oil from their energy mix or are working towards doing so.

“Nations are rallying to our side to confront the regime [Iranian] like never before. America’s economic sanctions against the regime are the strongest in history and will keep getting tougher until Iran starts behaving like a normal country,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompe said on Thursday while delivering a speech at The American University in Cairo.

Following the re-imposition of sanctions against Tehran, Washington granted exemptions to eight key oil buyers — China, India, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Taiwan, Italy and Greece.

Earlier this week, India’s top bank executive said that New Delhi had begun paying Iran in Indian rupees for its oil — an unprecedented move. Indian imports from Iran totalled about $11 billion between April and November, with oil accounting for about 90 per cent.
Earlier, India gave Iran permission to open a bank branch in three months time to ease payment complications.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday said that Tehran would continue to be a reliable supplier of crude oil to India. The economic partners continued to engage in the trade of oil under previous sanctions.

Indian crude imports from Iran are expected to average about 300,000-350,000 barrel per day (bpd) during the waiver period, which ends in March. Sputnik reported on 26 December that India is looking to extend the waiver period to ensure its energy security beyond March 2019.