THE US has ruled out giving any exemption from its punitive sanctions to countries, including India, for buying crude oil (oil) from Iran, saying America’s maximum pressure campaign was working and the Trump administration remains “unwavering” in its tough policy on Tehran.
US president Trump last month refused to give waivers to countries including India from buying oil from Iran, in an attempt to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero.
The US on Tuesday (28) reiterated its position at a news conference here after media reports from New Delhi, quoting unnamed government officials, said that India was looking at ways to resume oil imports from Iran despite the US sanctions.
Last week, India’s ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla said India had stopped buying oil from Iran after May 2 when the US ended its waivers that allowed the top buyers of Iranian oil, including India, to continue their imports for six months.
The US state department said there was no change in its policy on Iranian sanctions.
“The secretary (of state) has been very clear since April 22nd that we are going to zero,” spokesperson of the state department Morgan Ortagus told reporters during an off-camera news conference.
“We have stated that there are no new exemptions after May 2 as it relates to importing Iranian oil.
The US reimposed sanctions on Iran in November after pulling out of a 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and six other world powers.
Ortagus said the American sanctions on Iran were working.
Noting that the economic sanctions and the maximum pressure campaign will remain in place, the spokesperson said that both president Trump and secretary of state Mike Pompeo have said they will be willing to talk to the Iranian regime.
As of late April, India dropped its dependency on Iranian oil from about 2.5 million tonnes a month to one million tonnes a month, Shringla said last week.
Noting that the US did talk of trying to maintain price stability, Shringla said in the short term, there has been reduced price stability.
Iran earlier used to supply 10 per cent of India’s oil needs.
After coming to power, Trump withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal last year and has imposed stringent sanctions against what he describes as the “authoritarian” Iranian regime.
The US is seeking to ramp up pressure on Iran to counter what the White House perceives to be a potential threat.