India told Iran today that a decision on importing oil will be taken only after the elections, and after weighing various factors including energy security, commercial consideration and economic interests. Delhi had previously maintained that energy security, commercial and economic factors will determine its decision, but this is the first time it has left the decision to the new government that comes to office after May 23.
This message was conveyed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in their meeting today. Zarif had reached Delhi late Monday night. He has already been to China, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Iraq over the last few days. His visits comes in the backdrop of increasing tensions between Iran and the US, and the crisis situation in the Persian Gulf.
After the bilateral meeting with Swaraj, Zarif took to Twitter and wrote that he had excellent talks in Turkmenistan and India and those who actually live in their fragile neighborhood have a real national security interest in promoting peace, cooperation, stability and connectivity. He added that Iran remains a very accessible, efficient, sustainable and a secure partner.
US ended its sanctions exemption to India for importing Iran oil after May 1. Zarif’s trip has come three weeks after U.S. President Trump decided to squeeze Iran, announcing that the United States will no longer grant sanctions exemption to Iran’s oil customers. The end of this waiver means that India cannot import oil from Iran, or else its private or state-owned entities will face US sanctions.