23:47 GMT20 September 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Despite vowing not to give in to any sort of pressure from a third country while dealing with trade with Iran, the Indian government stopped purchasing Iranian crude in May this year after the re-imposition of US economic sanctions came into effect. On the contrary, China has not followed US sanctions and has continued its oil purchases from the Persian Gulf nation.

    A day after US President Donald Trump indicated that there is room for negotiations with Tehran, French President Emmanuel Macron urged him to usher in peace by revoking the suspension on the sale of Iranian crude to India. Iran is the third-largest supplier of crude oil to India.

    The development came against the backdrop of Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif attending the G7 summit in the seaside town of Biarritz in France for talks as part of Macron's diplomatic initiative aimed at de-escalating tensions in the Gulf.

    It is reported that Iran wants to coordinate the exports of at least 700,000 barrels of oil, ideally up to 1.5 million barrels per day, in exchange for an agreement to maintain the 2015 nuclear deal.

    At the same time, China and India are among the recipients of Iranian oil that could be excluded from the American sanctions.

    Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reiterated on Tuesday that the situation will change only if the "US removes all sanctions" against the Islamic Republic.

    “If they wish for more security in the region and want to have better relations with regional countries; if they claim that they want nothing from Iran, then they have to step back from sanctions”, the president added.

    In the last week of June, while meeting Trump on the side-lines of the G20 meeting in Osaka, Japan, Indian Prime Minister Modi pointed out that "although Iran supplies 11% of our energy, India had reduced oil imports from Iran".

    Modi said that India had reduced the import of crude from Iran and that despite "the effect it had on the Indian economy we had been able to sustain this position".

    A senior government official told Sputnik that since May this year, India has increased the import of crude oil and gas from the US to fill the gap created in the wake up of stopping the Iranian crude oil imports.

    On Monday, Prime Minister Modi, while meeting with President Trump, said that $4 billion worth of imports are already in the pipeline and that "we expect to step it up". Modi will also hold a round table with the top CEOs of energy companies in Houston during his visit to the US in September.

    India had initially opted to bow to the US sanctions after the Trump administration decided to end the waivers on 2 May that it had granted to eight of Iran’s top oil customers — China, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Greece, and Turkey, which were issued last November.

    India is a major importer of Iranian oil. In 2018-19 alone, it imported 23.5 million tonnes of crude oil from the Islamic country.


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