New Delhi: The US decision to let India keep buying oil from Iran after reimposition of sanctions on the Persian Gulf nation is a reassertion that interests of consuming nations can not be ignored, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Saturday.
The US administration has allowed India and other seven countries to keep importing oil from Iran, despite its reimposition of crippling sanctions on the Persian Gulf nation from November 5.
"Hon'ble Prime Minister's forceful campaign has been that you can't ignore interests of consuming countries. Understanding geo-political situation, India has been able to get its way. The US has given waiver to some countries including India," Pradhan told reporters on the sidelines of an agreement signing event between CSC e-Governance Services and oil marketing companies - BPCL, India Oil and HPCL.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that the US would temporarily allow eight countries to continue buying Iranian oil even after enforcing its sanctions on Tehran.
"I give credit of this to emerging acceptance of world leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. From this campaign not only India but other consuming nations will be benefitted. The nitty-gritty of this will come gradually," he said.
While the US had previously wanted countries including India to completely halt oil purchases from Iran by November 4 when its full sanctions against Tehran come into force, it seems to have relented considering the havoc the move to completely take out Iranian supplies from the market would have had on prices.
India, which is the second biggest purchaser of Iranian oil after China, is willing to restrict its monthly purchase to 1.25 million tonnes or 15 million tonnes in a year (300,000 barrels per day), down from 22.6 million tonnes (452,000 barrels per day) bought in 2017-18 financial year, sources in New Delhi said.
Pompeo said the US is to issue temporary exemption to eight "jurisdictions" from Iranian sanctions recognising their significant reduction in imports of oil from Iran. The names of the jurisdictions would be released on Monday.
The US will allow the eight nations to import Iranian oil but only at much lower levels after the reimposition of sanctions on Monday, Pompeo said.
The sanctions will penalise countries that do not end importing Iranian oil and foreign companies that do business with blacklisted Iranian firms.