Millennium Post

Iran hopes India will ask for another waiver from US curbs

New Delhi: Iran Tuesday expressed hope India will seek another waiver from US sanctions to continue buying its crude oil, noting that it is the world's fastest-growing major economy's most reliable energy provider. India in November last year won a six-month waiver to buy crude oil from Iran after it agreed to cut imports and escrow rupee payments.

"Challenges will be overcome, ways will be found. So, you are looking at a country that has not only survived but prospered and achieved progress in spite of 40 years of sanctions. Sanctions are not new for Iran," Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said while addressing a business summit here.

He termed the US sanctions against his country as "purely illegal", saying one country was using its economic might to advance illegality. While the previous sanctions over its suspected nuclear programme were endorsed by the United Nations, the sanctions Trump administration imposed last year are only by the US.

"Iran is the most reliable energy provider to India. We have not allowed any consideration to impede our relations," he said. "India was on our side (when Iran went through sanctions). We will not forget people who were on our side when better times come."

Asked what will happen at the end of the waiver period, Iran's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Gholam Reza Ansari told reporters here India is trying to extend the waiver. "As far as I understand Indians are trying to extend these waivers and I think according to our traditional relation between Iran and India they will be successful to receive this waiver as well," he said.

Under the 180-day exemption, India is allowed to import a maximum of 3,00,000 barrels a day of crude oil. This compares to an average daily import of about 5,60,000 barrels in 2018. India, which is the second biggest purchaser of Iranian oil after China, has since then restricted its monthly purchase to 1.25 million tonnes or 15 million tonnes in a year (3,00,000 barrels per day), down from 22.6 million tonnes (4,52,000 barrels per day) bought in the 2017-18 financial year.

India has allowed an Iranian bank to open a branch in Mumbai for related transactions, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said Tuesday. Zarif said, "We are very happy that both UCO Bank from India and Pasargad Bank from Iran are getting started with the business." The two banks will facilitate transactions relating to operation of berths at Chabahar port.

Gadkari said the RBI has given all clearances to an Iranian bank which to open a branch within the next three months. "The government of India has given permission to an Iranian bank to open its branch in Mumbai. It is going to open within three months, and will be used for transactions (related to Chabahar port)," Gadkari said.

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