India, Asian allies may face US sanctions for failing to reduce Iranian oil imports

Washington, Mar 18: The United States is likely to impose sanctions on India, and other Asian countries if they fail to meet the American demand to cut oil imports from Iran.

Under sanctions approved by the Obama administration late last year, the US is supposed to penalize any country that does business through Iran’s central bank, which processes much of the country’s oil transactions.

Countries would be specifically penalized for oil purchases if they do not make a serious effort to curtail those Iranian imports.

A recent Bloomberg report had quoted unnamed officials as saying that India, the third-biggest importer of Iranian crude oil, averaging 328,000 barrels a day, so far has not cut back on Iranian oil purchases and could be sanctioned.

According to Fox News, a Treasury Department official said that the administration is in the process of “talking to all countries” engaged in trade with Iran.

“We are working with our partners to significantly reduce their imports of Iranian crude and to isolate the Central Bank of Iran so as to limit the risks it can pose to the international financial system,” the official said.

“High level delegations from the Departments of the Treasury, State and Energy have already been traveling across the globe to consult with their counterparts on these issues,” the official added.

Earlier this year, Indian’s Finance Minister said “it is not possible” to drastically reduce Iranian oil imports and that they’re too vital to India’s developing economy.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, though, testified last month that India and other countries are doing more to comply “than perhaps their public statements might lead you to believe.” (ANI)