India is studying the implications of the US decision to end waivers granted to it along with seven other countries to buy Iranian oil without facing sanctions, government sources said on Monday. In a move that could have implications on India's energy security, US President Donald Trump decided not to continue with the exemptions to any oil customers of Iran.
In November, the US granted a six-month waiver to India, China, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and South Korea to continue importing oil from Iran. The temporary waiver ends on May 2.
"We have seen the announcement by the US Secretary of State. We are studying the implications of the decision and will make a statement at an appropriate time," said a source.
In Washington, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US will dramatically accelerate its pressure campaign on the Iranian regime until its leaders change their destructive behaviour, respect the rights of their people, and return to the negotiating table.Pompeo remarks came soon after Trump announced that his administration will not issue any additional Significant Reduction Exceptions to existing importers of Iranian oil.
In May last year, the US brought back sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal which was struck in 2015.
Iran denounces US sanctions
Iran denounced US sanctions on its oil sector as "illegal" on Monday after the United States announced it will no longer grant sanctions exemptions to Iran's oil customers. "Since the sanctions in question are principally illegal, the Islamic Republic of Iran did not and does not attach any value or credibility to the waivers given to the sanctions," the foreign ministry said in a statement issued on its official website.
The US has told India and other countries to cut oil imports from the Gulf nation to "zero" by November 4 or face sanctions. However, Washington granted a six-month waiver from sanctions to eight countries including India.India, which is the second biggest purchaser of Iranian oil after China, had agreed to restrict its monthly purchase to 1.25 million tonne or 15 million tonne in a year (300,000 barrels per day), down from 22.6 million tonne (452,000 barrels per day) bought in 2017-18 financial year.
The world's third biggest oil consumer, India meets more than 80 per cent of its oil needs through imports. Iran is its third largest supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia and meets about 10 per cent of total needs.
(With PTI inputs)