Trump sets 4 Nov deadline for world to stop buying Iranian crude
27 June 2018
The United States has asked all buyers of Iranian crude oil, including major importers like India and China, to stop all oil imports from Iran by November if these countries are to escape UDS sanctions.
The US as also ruled out any exemption to India and Indian companies from the fresh sanctions on the Iranian regime for carrying out any transaction with Iran.
"On China and India, yes, certainly," a state department official told reporters when asked if the US has told all countries, including India and China, to stop all their imports of Iranian oil by 4 November.
Given the huge energy needs, India and China are major importers of Iranian oil, but that would not exempt Indian and Chinese companies from the sanctions, the official stated.
"Their (India and China) companies will be subject to the same sanctions that everybody else's are if they engage in those sectors of the economy that are sanctionable, where there were sanctions imposed prior to 2015. And yes, we will certainly be requesting that their oil imports go to zero. Without question," the state department official.
The official said countries should start reducing import of oil from Iran now and bring it to zero by 4 November. "Without question, they should be reduced. That's what we've been telling them in our bilateral meetings. They should be preparing, now, to go to zero (by November 4)," the official said.
The sanctions are part of the Trump administration's effort to isolate streams of Iranian funding and are to highlight Iran's malign behaviour across the region.
"We remain engaged with the EU-3 throughout this process, and we are going to continue to branch out in new countries and reach new partners as the weeks go forward," the official said.
The new demand is sure to form part of the first 2+2 dialogue between India and the US next week. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman would be in the US next week for talks with their American counterparts secretary of state Mike Pompeo and defence secretary James Mattis.
The State Department asserted that there would be no waivers under the new sanctions regime. "I would be hesitant to say 'zero waivers ever'. I think the predisposition would be, 'No, we're not granting waivers'," the official said.
He said America's allies are aware of its concern and claimed that these countries want to work with the US. "I don't want to get into the substance of each discussion I've had, but, for a vast majority of countries, they are willing to adhere and support our approach to this because they also view it as a threat. And it's gotten worse since 2015, not better, on their regional activity side," the official said.
During the earlier sanctions regime from 2011 to 2015, India reduced its purchases of Iranian oil, but with some waivers. India increased oil purchases from Iran to nearly pre-2012 levels after sanctions were lifted, and in May 2016 India agreed to transfer to Iran about $6.5 billion that it owed for Iranian oil shipments that was held up for payment due to sanctions.
India's official position has been that it will only enforce sanctions authorised by UN Security Council resolutions, which raises the possibility that India will likely resist US efforts to compel it to comply with reimposed US sanctions.