We will be requesting India, China to bring Iran oil imports to 'zero', without question: US

Iran oil Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team Washington, DC, USA Jun 27, 2018, 07.30 AM (IST)

The Trump administration has told countries to stop oil imports from Iran from November while offering no exceptions, the order stands for India and China who have been asked to cut their oil import to "zero".

The development comes even as India's foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had said that India recognises UN sanctions and not US sanctions and that New Delhi followed an independent policy. “India follows only UN sanctions, and not unilateral sanctions by any country,” she had said at a news conference.

India and China are major importers of oil from Iran. "Yes, we are asking them to go to zero," an official said.

"Their (India and China) companies will be subject to the same sanctions that everybody else's are if they engage in those sectors of the economy that are sanctionable, where there were sanctions imposed prior to 2015," a state department spokesman said.

India had traded with Iran when sanctions were imposed last time but had to cut oil imports as sanctions had cut off cover for oil tankers - a key requirement in oil deals.

"And yes, we will certainly be requesting that their oil imports go to zero. Without question," the official added.

President Trump had pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal last month even as its European allies continue to keep the 2015 deal alive.

Iran president  Hassan Rouhani has meanwhile assured its citizens that it would be able to handle the US sanctions.

The Rohani government officials recently approached China to maintain imports although Chinese officials did not give any commitments, reports said.

India has increased its oil import from Iran to after sanctions were lifted in 2016 and had settled its $6.5 billion bill it owed for Iranian oil shipments but the payment was held up due to sanctions.

The State Department official said that there would be "no waivers" under the new sanctions regime. "I would be hesitant to say 'zero waivers ever'. I think the predisposition would be, 'No, we're not granting waivers'," the official said.

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