The United States on Friday decided to exempt eight countries, including India, from new Iran oil sanctions, said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He said the exemptions would be temporary. The Donald Trump administration also announced the return of all US sanctions on Iran that were lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal.
The US is to issue temporary exemption to eight "jurisdictions" from Iranian sanctions recognising their significant reduction in imports of oil from Iran. The names of the jurisdictions would be released on Monday, Pompeo said.
India, which is the second biggest purchaser of Iranian oil after China, is willing to restrict its monthly purchase to 1.25 million tonnes or 15 million tonnes in a year (300,000 barrels per day), down from 22.6 million tonnes (452,000 barrels per day) bought in 2017-18 financial year, sources in New Delhi said.
In May, US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 landmark nuclear the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) terming it as disastrous". Under the Obama-era deal, involving five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany, Iran agreed to stop its nuclear programme in exchange of relief from economic sanctions.
After the US' withdrawal from the deal, Trump signed fresh sanctions against Iran and warned countries against any cooperation with Tehran on its controversial nuclear weapons programme.
"The United States is in the midst of an internal process to consider significant reduction exceptions for individual countries, but that is only on a case-by-case basis," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Paladino said on Thursday. He was responding to questions on the news reports from South Korea and India that they are getting waivers from the US on the punitive Iranian sanctions.
Eight nations among Iran’s biggest customers are China, India, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Greece and Italy.
Iran’s biggest oil customers - all in Asia - have been seeking sanctions waivers to allow them to continue buying some of its oil and have argued that a total ban would spur a further rally in the price of crude.
The United States has vowed to end all sales of Iranian oil, the country's crucial export, as well as international banking transactions, snapping back sanctions lifted by Trump's predecessor as US president, Barack Obama.
(With agency inputs)