India to reduce oil from Iran ahead of US sanctions: report

India to reduce oil from Iran ahead of US sanctions: report
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India's government will cut imports of oil from Iran by nearly half for the months of September and October as Iran faces U.S. sanctions from the Trump administration set to be implemented in November.

Reuters reported that India's oil ministry informed companies to prepare for a drastic reduction of oil imports from Iran come November, possibly reducing imports from the country down to zero.

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Indian officials, who are still negotiating with U.S. counterparts, told the news outlet that the country hopes to secure waivers to allow some imports of Iranian oil to continue amid the sanctions.

Until those waivers are finalized, however, companies are preparing for the possibility of an end to Iranian crude oil shipments.

“Some refiners have either already exhausted or front-loaded their term contract to a large extent, which allows them the flexibility to go to zero if required, or until clarity on the waivers emerge,” chief oil analyst at Energy Aspect Amrita Sen told Reuters.

“We have a special relationship with both the U.S. and with Iran, and we are seeing how to balance this all, and also to balance out the interest of the refiners and end-consumers,” added an unnamed Indian government official.

India bought about 658,000 barrels of oil per day between April and August; the projected cuts will reduce those shipments to 360,000-370,000 barrels per day, Reuters reports.

The sanctions, along with others imposed on Iran last month, are seen by some experts as an effort to force Iran to the negotiating table with a feint, rather than being serious policy.

The Trump administration exited the landmark nuclear agreement with Iran earlier this year, citing Iran's violations of the spirit of the deal.

In July, Trump also issued an all-caps threat aimed at Iran's leader, Hassan Rouhani, over anti-American rhetoric from Iranian politicians.

“NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”