India Says Oil Imports From Iran Not Stopped

India Says Oil Imports From Iran Not StoppedIndia Says Oil Imports From Iran Not Stopped

Indicating that there is still some confusion in India’s position on stopping oil imports from Iran in line with sanctions reimposed by the United States, the government said on Wednesday that it does not propose to cancel trade, including oil imports, from Iran.
Replying to a direct question on whether the government would “withdraw or discontinue” trade with Iran, Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan said, “No,” Indian daily newspaper the Hindu reported.
To a supplementary question from Congress Member of Parliament Anto Antony on “whether there is any pressure on the government from United States or any other country in this regard,” Muraleedharan said, “India’s bilateral relations with Iran stand on their own and are not influenced by India’s relations with any third country.”
His answer reflects India’s traditional position but is at considerable variance from the stand taken last week at the G20, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly told Trump that New Delhi had, in fact, reduced its intake of Iranian oil, in accordance with Washington’s request to “zero out” Iranian oil imports after May 2.
“Prime minister pointed out that although Iran supplies 11% of our energy, India had reduced oil imports from Iran [...] despite the effect it had on the Indian economy, [and] we had been able to sustain this position,” Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said at a press conference after the India-US bilateral summit.
When asked about the differing positions, a senior government official said the Ministry of Petroleum could confirm that levels of Iranian oil imports had, in fact dropped, but that the decision to reduce oil imports was based on “commercial considerations and national interest”.
According to industry sources, Indian companies have placed no new orders for oil from Iran since May 2.
In May 2018, when the US first announced its sanctions, the then-external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, had said India would never abide by unilateral sanctions from the United States, and only followed “UN sanctions”.

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