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India to decide on Iran oil imports after elections

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 14, 2019

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif pose for photograph in New Delhi, Tuesday, May 14, 2019.   -  PTI

Iran Foreign Minister holds talks with Sushma Swaraj

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday in New Delhi to discuss bilateral issues, including the fallout of the US decision last month to discontinue the sanction waivers given to eight countries, including India, for continued purchase of oil from the country.

Zarif, who reiterated that India was an important partner, was keen that it should continue to source at least a small part of its oil imports from Iran, an official close to the development told BusinessLine.

India, however, does not want to take a decision on oil imports from Iran till the election process is over and a new government is formed, and this was indicated to the Iranian Minister, the official said.

While India has not openly committed to reduce its import of oil from Iran to zero following the withdrawal of the US waiver, senior officials have earlier said it may not be possible to continue to buy from Iran as the banking, insurance and shipping systems would be under sanction.

“There is a possibility that Iran may have something to propose on how payments could be made, but all this would be relevant only after the elections,” the official added.

In May 2018, Trump withdrew from a nuclear deal that the US and five other major world powers had struck with Iran in 2015 to curtail its nuclear programme. In November that year, Washington re-imposed sanctions on exports of Iranian oil but granted waivers to eight economies that had reduced their purchases of Iranian oil.

Published on May 14, 2019

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