India to decide on oil imports after polls: Sushma Swaraj

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Iran is its third largest supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia and meets about 10 per cent of its total needs.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held "constructive" talks with her Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on Tuesday and conveyed to him that India will take a decision on import of Iranian oil after the Lok Sabha polls.

Media reports said that the Iranian Foreign Minister initiated the dialogue on his own and briefed his Indian counterpart on the developments in the region including economic pressures owing to U.S. sanctions. India bought 23.6 million tons of Iranian oil in the financial year ending in March 2019.

The US had told India and other countries to cut oil imports from the Gulf nation to "zero" by November 4 or face sanctions.

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Zarif emphasized, "India is consistent with Iran in many areas and such bilateral dialogues and exchanges are absolutely necessary for strengthening relations between the two countries".

Zarif is making the trip three weeks after President Donald Trump chose to squeeze Iran, announcing that the United States will no longer grant sanctions exemption to Iran's oil customers. But with President Donald Trump announcing the USA pullout a year ago, the USA has again turned on the heat on Iran. New Delhi has always maintained that all signatories should remain invested in the deal despite the renewed pressure from the US.

Zarif recalled the steps announced by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, including the decisions linked to the export of enriched material and heavy water.

On Tuesday, a government source said: "The visit of the Iranian foreign minister took place at his own initiative to brief the Indian side on the Iranian approach to the recent developments in the region, including on JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal), and to review bilateral cooperation".

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