India to decide on Iran oil after elections

India has informed old Iran that a decision on importing oil will be taken after the Lok Sabha elections conclude, keeping in mind the “commercial considerations, energy security and economic interests.”

This was conveyed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at their meeting in the National Capital, yesterday. His visit comes three weeks after US President Donald Trump announced that the US will no longer grant sanctions exemption to Iran’s oil customers. The end of the waiver means India cannot import oil from Iran and will have to face US sanctions if it chooses to do so.

Further, India reiterated that the meeting was initiated by Iranian foreign minister only “to brief the Indian side on the Iranian approach to the recent developments in the region, including on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and to review bilateral cooperation.” This was a part of a series of talks and deliberation undertaken by Zarif with other countries in the region, including Russia, China, Turkmenistan, and Iraq over the last few days.

Zarif also said that a 60-day timeline has been given to EU-3 and other parties to JCPOA for restoring the oil and banking channels. The JCPOA has currently hit rough waters after Iran decided to not keep its part of the bargain — to sell its surplus enriched uranium to other countries — after the US withdrew from the deal.

Swaraj made it clear that “India would like all parties to the agreement to continue to fulfill their commitments and all parties should engage constructively and resolve all issues peacefully and through dialogue,” a source added. India, the second biggest buyer of Iranian crude oil, is bound to be affected by US’ decision which aims to raze Iran’s oil exports to almost zero. Iran is its third largest supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia and meets about 10 per cent of its total needs.

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