U.S. digs its heels on Iran oil sanctions

No new exemptions after May 2

The U.S. has said that there is no change to its position on the import of Iranian oil by other countries. State Department Morgan Ortagus reiterated the U.S. stand in response to reports in the Indian media that New Delhi was trying to continue limited imports of Iranian oil which it intended to pay for in rupees.

“…I would just say that the Secretary has been very clear since April 22nd that we are going to zero,” Ms. Ortagus told reporters on Tuesday.

“We have stated that there are no new exemptions after May 2nd as it relates to importing Iranian oil. The U.S. position there remains quite firm.”

Six-month waiver

India was one of eight countries that had a six-month waiver from sanctions against buying Iranian oil, which went into effect in early November last year, months after the United States pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear programme. That waiver expired on May 2.

During the press briefing, Ms. Ortagus also said that the Secretary of State Michael Pompeo “will have a very robust discussion on a range of issues”.

It is unclear which discussion she was referring to. The Hindu had reported that Mr. Pompeo is expected to lead a delegation to New Delhi in the third week of June, which would set the stage for talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump in Osaka, Japan, on the sidelines of the G-20 summit on June 28-29.

The State Department did not confirm Mr. Pompeo’s New Delhi visit for The Hindu.

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