India continues talks with U.S. on waiver from Iran oil sanctions

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 15, 2019

While India has reduced purchases of Iranian oil, it has been in talks on extending the sanctions waiver, known as a significant reduction exception, the officials added. "We are in talks with them and let's see what happens, let's wait for the result", Indian Petroleum Secretary M.M. Kutty said on the sidelines of CERAWeek in Houston, Texas.

The waivers were aimed at giving these countries more time to comply with the sanctions.

Following the last round of sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran this past November that further crippled its oil-based economy, the Islamic Republic resolved to "proudly bypass" them claiming they violated global law after the United States made a decision to quit the 2016 JCPOA that stalled sanctions in exchange for Iran's curtailing its nuclear program.

The United States will likely renew waivers to sanctions for most countries buying Iranian crude, including the biggest buyers China and India, in exchange for pledges to cut combined imports to below 1 million bpd.

If Iran runs into difficulties exporting its oil it could have a significant impact.

Reutersreported on Wednesday that Iran's oil tanker fleet is aging and USA sanctions are making it hard for Tehran to maintain or replace the ships. However, the age of the fleet and the dilapidated state of the tankers are making the challenge even more hard.

Iran was the eighth biggest oil supplier to India in February compared with seventh in January, and slipped from third position it held a year ago, the data showed. "This brings the total number of Iran-related sanctions targets under this Administration to 927 entities, individuals, vessels, and aircraft", she said.

And with few buyers now willing to take all the commercial risks involved in oil sales, Iran is also having to cover the shipment of cargoes, including securing insurance in most instances, shipping sources said.

Iranian officials, however, are trying to appear positive and upbeat regarding the sanctions.

All eight are in bilateral talks about the waivers, sources said.

Vietnamese officials did not respond to requests for comment.

In November, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook described Iran's tanker sector as a "floating liability", saying the US sanctions would bar them from global insurance markets, making them a risk for ports and canals which allow them access.

Mike Salthouse, with the International Group, which represents companies that insure about 90 percent of the world's commercial shipping, said Western insurers were very unlikely to do business with Iranian shipping companies.

"Banks will not engage when you mention the Iran word".

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