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US officials to discuss India’s oil trade with Iran as sanctions deadline nears

Written by PaperDabba

Top officials in the Trump regime, dealing with Iran and energy resources, are in India to discuss strategic issues, including New Delhi’s plans to curb oil imports from Iran, ahead of the November 4 deadline set by Washington for bringing down purchases from the Islamic Republic to zero.

“US’ Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook and Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis R. Fannon will meet Indian counterparts for consultations,” according to an official release from the US State Department.

Hook and Fannon are set to meet senior officials from the Ministry of External Affairs and the Petroleum Ministry, an Indian government official confirmed. “There are still unresolved issues between the two sides on the matter of India’s oil imports from Iran. Iran is an economically viable option for India and it would be difficult to stop all imports till there are alternative sources that are also as cost-effective. India has maintained this position in all its discussions with the US,” the official said.

Talking to the media in Washington earlier this week, US President Donald Trump warned that the US will “take care of” countries that defy the November 4 deadline. Countries like India and China who have indicated that they might do so.

The US State Department statement said that during the trip (which includes visits to India and Europe) Hook will engage US’ allies and partners on its shared need to counter the entirety of the Iranian regime’s destructive behaviour in West Asia, and in their own neighbourhoods.

Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had said on Monday that India was still buying oil from Iran and hoped for a waiver from US sanctions.

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