As a top USA official headed for New Delhi for talks on Iran sanctions a state department spokesperson on Thursday said "it's not helpful" that India plans to continue buying Iranian oil and go ahead with the purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems, both of which are subject to secondary sanctions under separate U.S. authorities.
President Trump ordered the reimposition of sanctions on Iran in May after Washington's withdrawal from the worldwide agreement to limit Iran's nuclear programme.
India imports 83% of its oil requirements, and about 9.4% of the 220.4 million metric tonnes (million MT) of crude oil imported by India in 2017-18 was from Iran.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet government officials across ministries like petroleum, external affairs and finance later today to figure out ways for continuing with oil imports from Iran in the face of sanctions by the United States, three people familiar with the matter said.
India's imports in August stood at 523,000 bpd, down by 32 percent compared to July, after the United States increased pressure on Iranian oil customers to significantly scale down purchases and outright stop buying Iranian oil with the USA sanctions on Tehran returning in early November.
"We make our policies very clear to those countries".
"We believe that countries coming together and recognising the malign influence that Iran has had around the world is important".
Earlier on Friday, US State department spokeswoman Heather Nauert in a Twitter post disclosed that Hook was travelling to India and Europe as the deadline for a second set of punishing US sanctions was to take effect from 4 November.
The spokesperson's observation came a day after President Donald Trump said India "is going to find out ..."
On the implication of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA on India after it inked the United States dollars 5 billion deal with Russian Federation to purchase the S-400 Triumf air defence system, Ms Nauert said, "He (the president) was asked also about CAATSA sanctions and possible imposition of CAATSA sanctions".
United States and India were to resume high-stakes negotiations Friday over the USA request for India to slash its Iranian oil imports, reports said. And India will find out.
Special representative on Iran Brian Hook, accompanied by assistant secretary of state for energy Francis Fannon, will meet "Indian government counterparts for consultations", the state department announced Thursday. We'll see. So I'm not going to get ahead of him, but certainly when we hear about things such as purchasing oil or the S-400 systems, it's not helpful.
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