India Friday welcomed the US announcement allowing it to keep buying crude oil from Iran and said it was examining the details of the exemptions.
The US on Monday re-imposed sanctions on import of crude oil from Iran but temporarily allowed India, China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Greece, Taiwan and Turkey to continue the purchase from the Gulf nation without any penalty.
“We appreciate that the US government has taken into account our need for energy security and understood our sensitivities on this matter. We welcome this. We are now examining the details of the exemption,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
Asked whether India was going to reduce crude oil imports from Iran, he did not give a direct reply but said Iranian oil was very important for India’s energy security.
“India is a major importer of crude oil from Iran. This is very important for our own energy security needs. We appreciate the fact that US has shown understanding of our position and have said that their intention is not to hurt India,” he said.
“I am not at the liberty to give you details about the quantum of crude oil that we will continue to import,” Kumar added.
The MEA spokesperson said India also appreciated the US for exempting it from sanctions for the development of the strategically-located Chabahar port in Iran.
“We have taken note of the US statement that exception has been provided under the Iran Freedom and Counter Proliferation Act of 2012 with respect to development of Chabahar Port and the construction of an associated railway line,” he said.
“We appreciate that the US recognised the role which this port will play to bring strategic and long term benefits to Afghanistan as well as enhance Afghanistan’s connectivity with the outside world,” Kumar added.
Ports in Iran have also come under the US sanctions.
New Delhi has been a key partner in development of the Chabahar port which is being considered a gateway to golden opportunities for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with central Asian countries.
The port is being considered crucial for trade among the three countries in the wake of Pakistan denying transit access to India.
In May 2016, India, Iran and Afghanistan had signed a pact which entailed establishment of a transit and transport corridor among the three countries using Chabahar Port as one of the regional hubs.
India had requested the US to allow it to continue its engagement in the Chabahar port, saying it can be a major link for trade with war-ravaged Afghanistan.