Published: Fri, March 15, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

India’s oil imports from Iran slump 60 pct in Feb y/y

India’s oil imports from Iran slump 60 pct in Feb y/y

Iran will respond firmly to any Israeli naval action against its oil shipments, Iran's defence minister said on Wednesday, in comments that came a week after Israel's prime minister said its navy could act against Iranian oil "smuggling" to enforce USA sanctions.

In so doing, this nation responded to a threat issued last week by Tel Aviv that it could act against what it calls Iranian oil smuggling to evade US sanctions.

Iran reached an agreement with world powers in 2015 over its nuclear programme which led to the lifting of sanctions in 2016 but Trump pulled out of the deal in May a year ago and reimposed USA restrictions in November.

In response, Hatami, quoted by the state news agency IRNA, stated that Tehran possessed the military capability to deal with any Israeli intervention.

Hatami said such confrontation would be considered as "piracy" and warned that "if it happens, we will firmly respond".

But potential sellers of used vessels are more wary this time round after a Greek network that helped Iran buy tankers under previous sanctions was blacklisted.

Brian Hook, the State Department's top Iran diplomat, said in November 2018, "If Iranian takers make calls to your ports or transit through your waterways, this comes at great risk". They intervened on Friday to repel pirates who attacked an Iranian oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden.


'We decided, to showcase a part of Iranian defensive and technological advances on the 40th anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution in order to confront the shop-worn strategy of enemies, ' Brigadier General Amir Hatami said at a meeting with senior directors of Iran's Defense Ministry.

"Zeroing out could prove difficult" one of the sources said, adding a price of around $65 a barrel for global benchmark Brent crude was "the high end of Trump's crude price comfort zone". India is hopeful that the USA will extend the waiver from sanctions on its oil imports from Iran when the current six-month period expires in early May following Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale's talks with senior officials in Washington this week.

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.

Renewed U.S. sanctions have also meant Iran has been unable to secure vital certification services from foreign providers to ensure its ships remain seaworthy, shipping officials said.

INU- Sources in Iran and across the West have said that Iran is trying to obtain second-hand oil tankers.

Brian Hook, the State Department's special representative on Iran, on March 13 reiterated the USA policy, telling an industry conference in Houston that Washington was committed to bringing Iranian crude exports to zero.

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