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US Demand Of Stopping Import Of Iran Oil Likely To Be Ignored By India Imports

US Demand Of Stopping Import Of Iran Oil Likely To Be Ignored By India Imports
The demands of the United States to reduce oil imports from Iran to zero would unlikely be adhered to by one of the biggest purchasers of Iranian oil.
Referring to the threat that the United States has given of imposing sanctions on the countries that continue to purchase Iranian oil after November 4, India has said on Wednesday that it did not recognize those sanctions.
"India does not recognize unilateral sanctions, but only sanctions by the United Nations," Sunjay Sudhir, joint secretary for international cooperation at India's petroleum ministry, told the media on a question about reduction of Iranian oil imports
A senior State Department official of the US had made the demand on Tuesday. The demand is reflective of the tough stance that is being pursued by President Donald Trump following his decision to withdraw from an international nuclear agreement with Iran and impose fresh sanctions on the country.
According to data from the Indian government, after Iraq and Saudi Arabia, the third largest oil supplier to India is Iran. And India is also the second largest buyer of Iranian oil after China.
The Indian government is unlikely to heed the US call, say analysts.
"More than China, India is unlikely to capitulate to the US demand," analysts at the Eurasia Group wrote in a note on Tuesday. According to their estimates, about 700,000 barrels per day of oil is imported by India from Iran and therefore Iran is a strategically critical source of supply which helps to meet up with the growth in demand for energy in the country.  
"India's state-owned refiners will likely continue to import Iranian crude," they said.
There were no comments available from the state-owned oil companies in India — Hindustan Petroleum, Bharat Petroleum and Indian Oil.
Trade officials from Indian and US are presently holding meetings in New Delhi in an attempt to resolve the increasing trade dispute started off by the decision to impose tariffs on India steel and aluminum by the Trump administration. Announcement of retaliatory tariffs on 29 American goods have been already made by India which are slated come into effect from August 4.
There has so far been no "official contact with the US" by the Indian government over the topic of Iranian oil.
However, there could already be signs that some of the private oil companies in India are backing down. According to a Reuters report, importing of Iranian oil has been halted since last month by firms like Reliance Industries which is the largest private business group in Ind run by India's wealthiest man.
Plans of reducing Iranian oil imports are also being reportedly made by Nayara Energy which is owned by Russian oil giant Rosneft.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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