14:03 GMT +317 July 2019
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    An oil tanker is seen off the port of Bandar Abbas, southern Iran (File)

    US Not to Force Private Firms to Sell Cheaper Oil to India Amid Iran Sanctions

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    The Indian Foreign Ministry had asked to extend their sanctions waiver for Iranian crude imports beyond 2 May, but the request failed to receive any positive response from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): Amid the pressing need to ensure availability of cheaper crude to Indian refiners to compensate for Iranian crude, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has said that the US government will not force its private firms to supply crude at a concessional rate.

    Ross was interacting with journalists outside the Indian Foreign Ministry, following his arrival in India on a two-day visit to discuss lingering trade issues between the two countries.

    READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE Saudi Oil Minister Vows to Substitute Iranian Crude Exports on Market

    "Oil is owned by private people so the government cannot force people to make concessionary prices to India", Ross, who arrived on Monday to participate in a trade forum in New Delhi, replied to media persons outside the Foreign Ministry when asked whether if the United States is considering selling oil to India at concessional rates to make up for the loss of Iranian crude.

    "Iran is a problem, if you see the recent terrorist activities…we should do whatever we can, against terrorism", the US commerce secretary alleged on Monday.

    The statement comes a week after the US government announced that it would not renew waivers for importers of Iranian oil that were valid through May 1 2019. The waivers were granted to eight countries: China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey in November 2018.

    Last week, the Indian Foreign Ministry claimed that there would be additional supplies from other major oil producing countries based on a robust plan which was drawn up by the Petroleum Ministry, but did not answer whether India had decided to curb the Iranian imports to zero.

    In November 2018, the Trump administration granted sanctions exemptions "to ensure a well-supplied oil market" for 180 days, which ended on 2 May.

    READ MORE: Iran Oil: China Warns US Sanctions Will Whip Up Turmoil in Middle East

    Iran is India's third-largest oil supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia. India has made it clear to the US on several occasions that Tehran is an essential part of its energy security.

    Indian refineries used to prefer Iranian crude due to cost effective availability, as Tehran offers 60-day credit, free insurance, and shipping.

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    Iran sanctions, concessions, costs, oil prices, Wilbur Ross, India, United States
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