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India seeks US waiver to sustain current oil import from Iran


India has said that it plans to maintain Iran oil import at the current level and is negotiating with the US to secure an extended exemption from US sanctions targeting Iran’s energy sector.

An exclusive Reuters report quoted two Indian sources with knowledge of the matter as saying on Thursday that New Delhi seeks to maintain its crude shipments from Iran at its current level of about 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) .

The sources added that India is trying to ensure renewal of the current waiver, which is set to expire this May.

The US left a multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), last May and re-imposed nuclear-related sanctions that had been lifted under the deal, including those on Iran’s oil sales.  Washington, however, granted waivers to Iran’s major customers, namely China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy, and Greece, on condition that they cut their crude imports from Iran. Washington is applying pressure on the major recipients of Iran’s crude to reduce the country’s oil exports to “zero” through the bans.

One of the Indian sources said talks with Washington on extending the waiver had slowed due to the US government shutdown that extended through January.

 “Talks have now resumed and India wants to get clarity before general elections scheduled in May,” Reuters cited the source as saying.

Iran is currently India’s seventh biggest oil supplier.

In late October last year, a few days before the US was about to bring Iran’s energy sector under its restrictive measures, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani assured the nation of the government’s resolve to stand up to US threats. He emphasized that his team would do all in its power to resolve the economic problems caused by American pressure.

President Rouhani assures the Iranian nation that his administration has no fear of US threats as Washington prepares to reintroduce a new round of sanctions against the country.

“We tell them that ‘you will not reach any of your goals with regard to Iran’s oil sales. You will neither be able to bring it to zero nor reduce it,’” Rouhani said.

 “Our people need to rest assure that the government is not afraid of US threats,” he added.

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