The US is reviewing “very carefully” India’s decision to continue
buying Iranian oil and purchase of the Russian S-400 air defence system,
according to a top official.
The official termed it “not helpful”, days after President Donald
Trump observed that New Delhi would soon find out if it faced punitive
The US is trying to cut off oil imports from Iran to zero by 4th
November following Trump’s decision in May to pull out of the 2015 multilateral
deal, which eased global sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran’s suspected
nuclear programmes and malign activities.
Responding to questions on reports that
India will continue to purchase oil from Iran after November 4, State
Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said
this was not helpful.
India's Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on
Monday said that two state refiners have placed orders for importing crude oil
from Iran in November.
"Overall with regard to those sanctions
that will take effect on November 4th - and you're referring to the oil
sanctions for Iran and countries that choose to continue purchasing oil from
Iran - we have conversations with many partners and allies around the world
about those sanctions," she said on Thursday.
"We make our policies very clear to those
countries. We continue to have conversations with the government of Iraq about
that particular issue and the implications for the reimposition of sanctions
that were previously lifted or even waived under the Joint Comprehensive Plan
of Action (JCPOA)," Nauert said.
The Trump administration has given the same
message to all countries around the world, and the president has said that the
United States is committed to re-enforcing all of its sanctions.
"We believe that countries coming together
and recognising the malign influence that Iran has had around the world is
important. We know that Iran and the government of Iran has taken the benefits
that it received under the JCPOA and they've poured that money not into their
own population, not into the good of the people, not into its medical hospitals
and things of that nature, but rather they've used it for its own nefarious
programmes," Nauert said.
Noting that she has seen reports of India
continuing to buy oil from Iran after November 4, she said this was a topic of
conversation with the Indian government when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was
in India last month for the first 2+2 Dialogue.
"The President had addressed it - I believe
it was just earlier today - which he was asked about that question about
whether or not India would buy oil from Iran after sanctions are reimposed. And
the President said - and I'm not going to get ahead of the President, certainly
- but he said we'll take care of that," she said.
On the implication of the Countering America's
Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA on India after it inked the USD 5
billion deal with Russia to purchase the S-400 Triumf air defence system,
Nauert said, "He (the president) was asked also about CAATSA sanctions and
possible imposition of CAATSA sanctions. And he said, you know, India is going
to find out.
"And India will find out. We'll see. So I'm
not going to get ahead of him, but certainly when we hear about things such as
purchasing oil or the S-400 systems, it's not helpful. The United States
government just reviews that very carefully," Nauert said.