India on Tuesday said it was adequately prepared to deal with the impact of the US decision to end waivers that allowed it to buy Iranian oil without facing sanctions.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the government will continue to work with partner nations, including with the US, to find all possible ways to protect India’s energy and economic security interests.
“The government has noted the announcement by the US government to discontinue the Significant Reduction Exemption to all purchasers of crude oil from Iran,” he said.
“We are adequately prepared to deal with the impact of this decision,” Kumar added.
US President Donald Trump has decided not to continue with the exemptions to oil customers of Iran.
In November, the US had 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.
In May last year, the US had brought back sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal which was struck in 2015.
The US had told India and other countries to cut oil imports from the Gulf nation to “zero” by November 4 or face sanctions. However, Washington had 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 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 the 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 its total needs.
In Washington, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Monday said that the US will dramatically accelerate its pressure campaign on the Iranian regime until its leaders change their destructive behaviour, respect the rights of the people and return to the negotiating table.
Pompeo’s remarks came soon after Trump announced that his administration would not issue any additional Significant Reduction Exceptions to existing importers of Iranian oil.