India would not be adversely impacted by the second round of US sanctions on Iran that kick in on the November 4, said sources familiar with the matter. Highly placed sources expressed confidence that India was unlikely to be affected by US sanctions which demand that all countries should bring oil imports from Iran to zero. However, official spokespersons for the government refused to comment.
US President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal formally known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in May this year. Trump justified the move saying, “This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made”.
Immediately after that, the White House said that the US would begin the process of re-imposing sanctions on Iran. Other members of the JCPOA including China, Russia, UK, France, Germany and EU reaffirmed their commitment to the deal signed in Vienna in 2015.
The first set of sanctions that kicked in on November 7 included Iran’s acquisition of US dollars and the second round which comes into effect on November 4, includes the purchase of petroleum and petroleum products from Iran.
Sanctions apply not just to American businesses but to non-American businesses and individuals as well. The aim is to penalise all trade and investment activity related to Iran.
Ever since the announcement of sanctions India has conveyed its opposition to the sanctions in a series of meeting including the inaugural 2+2 dialogue in New Delhi and most recently during the visit of US special envoy on Iran Brian Hook.
Speaking about Hook’s meetings with officials from the government, the external affairs ministry spokesperson said, “We have conveyed to him that the price of crude oil is a matter of concern for our domestic economy and directly affects the common people”.
The Centre has conveyed to the US that India is an energy reliant country and Iran is a key contributor, sources privy to the matter told CNBC-TV18. About 9.4 percent of the total 220.4 million tonnes of crude exported by India in 2017 and 2018 was from Iran.
“Meeting energy needs by bringing oil imports from Iran to zero, in the absence of alternative sources of energy will hurt the Indian economy, we have put our concerns before the US,” said Vijay Gokhale, foreign secretary. “We aren’t parties to the JCPOA. Therefore, if there are issues between parties to the JCPOA it has to be solved by them”.
State-owned oil companies have already placed an order for 1.25 million tonnes of Iranian oil for November.
First Published: IST