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Iran warns India of curtailing special privileges if oil imports reduced

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Eshaq Jahangiri

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on American allies on Thursday to help impose economic pressure on Iran, and accused Tehran of continuing to sell weapons in the Middle East despite United Nations resolutions.

Speaking to Press TV, author and political scientist Kaveh Afrasiabi, however, played down Pompeo's drive, saying his efforts will likely fail to produce any result. They say they will do more to encourage their businesses to remain engaged with Iran, though a number of firms have already said they plan to pull out.

India is yet to take a call on complying with the USA sanctions on Iran.

The newspaper also pointed out that US President Donald Trump recently asked Saudi Arabia to pump at least 2 million more barrels a day, but received a reply that stopped short of a commitment to do so. The port is India's gateway to trade with Iran, Afghanistan and central Asian countries and will allow it to bypass Pakistan, which has denied New Delhi transit access.

Iran is the third largest crude oil supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

On Tuesday, Iran's deputy ambassador and charge d'affaires, Massoud Rezvanian Rahaghi, clearly announced that India will lose its "special privileges" if it cuts down on its import of Iranian oil or if it tries to replace the oil with imports from Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq, the USA and others.

President Donald Trump said in May he would pull the United States out of an global nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose USA sanctions.

Iran on Tuesday, July 10, slammed India for not fulfilling its investment promises for the expansion of the Chabahar port and said that New Delhi will lose "special privileges" if it stops Iranian oil import and tries to source it from other countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq, and the US. "Indian demand is quite robust". Three others are headed for undisclosed ports on India's west coast from the US Gulf Coast.

HPCL-Mittal Energy Ltd continued to skip Iran oil imports for a second month in June, the data showed.

Reliance did not respond to a request for comment.

Imports by state refiners during the period more than doubled to about 413,400 bpd from 191,700 bpd, the data showed. It is carrying 1.93 million barrels of U.S. crude, Reuters tracking data shows.

Two more VLCCs - the Ghinah and the Eagle Victoria - were scheduled to leave the Texas coast for undisclosed ports in India this month, bringing planned U.S. oil exports to India to at least 191,000 bpd for the month. A trader familiar with the Chinese company's purchases confirmed PetroChina is supplying United States crude to India. "They really have started to make the shift", said Olivier Jakob, managing director of energy consultancy PetroMatrix. Indian refiners began testing U.S. crudes past year, and volumes have climbed as they became confident the blends would work.

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