New York: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday that Washington was exempting India from the sanctions on importing oil from Iran.
He said the US will continue to negotiate with India and the seven other countries receiving the six-month exemption to get them to cut their Iranian imports to zero.
The other countries receiving the exemptions Pompeo announced at a news conference with foreign correspondents in Washington were China, Greece, Italy, Turkey, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.
Treasury Secretary Steve Munchin said that his department was imposing sanctions on 700 individuals, entities, aircraft and ships.
US President Donald Trump announced July he was pulling out of the nuclear deal signed in 2015 by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Germany and the European Union with Iran to end its nuclear weapons programme.
Pompeo said that an important reason for the reimposition of the sanctions was Iran’s promotion of terrorism and that it was aimed at curbing its “revolutionary” policies.
India imported from Iran nearly 10 per cent of the total of 220 million metric tonnes of crude oil it imported during 2017-18.
Earlier, the Trump administration said it was confident that “the toughest ever” sanctions against Iran, which came into force Monday, will have the intended effect of altering the Iranian regime’s behaviour.
Pompeo, during a talk show on Fox News, had repeatedly parried questions when asked about the commitment from India and China on zero-oil purchase from Iran.
The reimposition of US sanctions on Iran, Pompeo asserted are the toughest ever on this country.
“Watch what we do. Watch as we’ve already taken more crude oil off the market than any time in previous history. Watch the efforts that President Trump’s policies have achieved. We’ve done all of this, too, while making sure that American consumers don’t suffer,” he said, as he avoided giving a direct answer on India and China.
The State Department did not respond to a PTI question as to what will happen if India does not bring down its oil purchase from Iran to zero, as being demanded by it, in next six months. It also did not respond to a question on the fate of the strategically crucial Iranian port of Chabahar, which India sees as critical for reaching landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asia.