US threatens sanctions against India over Iran oil ; India allows payments to Iran

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by Singh, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Wow, has the Indian government finally got a spine or its something more than what meets the eye ?

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    US Threatens Sanctions Against India Over Iran Oil



    The Obama administration is threatening to impose sanctions on India over its continued economic ties with Iran amid disagreements between Washington and New Delhi over how much and how soon the latter is reducing oil imports from the (in US eyes) pariah nation

    WASHINGTON: The Obama administration is threatening to impose sanctions on India over its continued economic ties with Iran amid disagreements between Washington and New Delhi over how much and how soon the latter is reducing oil imports from the (in US eyes) pariah nation.
    India has "failed" to reduce its purchase of Iranian oil and if it doesn't do so, President Barack Obama may be "forced" to impose sanction, unnamed administration officials were cited as telling Bloomberg wire service. A decision in this regard could come as early as June 28, they added, implicitly offering New Delhi a ten- week window to show a decline in Iranian oil imports.

    Indian officials have contested the US assessment by insisting New Delhi is scaling down Iranian oil imports with more reduction in the pipeline, but that concession has been offset by India's commerce ministry's well-publicized efforts to ramp up trade with Iran in other areas, a move that has not gone unnoticed by the powerful pro-Israeli lobby in US.

    The potent American Jewish Committee (AJC), which holds Israeli interests dear to its heart, raged against an Indian business delegation being shepherded to Iran by the Indian commerce ministry, pointing to it as an example of New Delhi's perfidy at a time Israel is India's close military and counter-terrorism partner.

    That prompted a strong rebuttal from the Indian embassy in Washington, accusing certain lobbies of presenting a "distorted picture of New Delhi's foreign policy objectives and energy security needs" by selective use of data about its imports from Iran.

    But the anti-Iran lobby in US has been galvanized by a report on Wednesday from the International Energy Agency (IEA), showing that India and South Korea "sharply" increased their oil imports from Iran in January.

    However, India has informally conveyed to Washington that it has advised its refineries, many of which are geared towards processing Iranian crude, to seek alternate supplies and gradually reduce their dependence on Iran. That process may take some time to kick in since annual crude contracts with Iran are April to March, so the reduction will start to show from next month.

    India has enough time to show compliance since the US law relating to sanctions vis-a-vis Iran kicks in only if countries don't make a "significant" cuts in their Iranian crude oil purchases during the first half of this year. The law does not specify by what percentage a nation must reduce its imports to qualify for an exemption from sanctions, so countries like South Korea and Japan have been negotiating with Washington the quantum of cuts they can live with. India is also believed to be in discussion with U.S in this matter.

    While the impending Indian compliance has been quietly acknowledged by some Obama administration officials, the hardline pro-Israeli lobby in US is champing at the bit. At a Congressional hearing earlier this month Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told lawmakers that while the US remains concerned about India's links with Iran, she acknowledged that New Delhi is ''heading in the right direction''.

    "In fact, I think in a number of instances, the actions of countries and their banks are better than the public statements that we sometimes hear them making," Clinton said in an indication of the Indian assurances.

    The Obama administration itself is in a bind over squeezing too hard and tightening oil supplies across the world. While Washington has offered to wean India and other countries from Iranian oil by arranging supplies from Saudi Arabia and Iraq, that could come at its own expense and rising oil prices. Already, gas prices are close to $ 4 a gallon at US pumps, and it is a well-acknowledged fact that the fortunes of US politicians running for high office is linked to pain (or otherwise) at the pump.

    US threatens sanctions against India over Iran oil - The Times of India

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    Govt. Clears The Way For Hassle Free Payments To Iran For Crude Oil



    In a signal that it had no intentions of giving up on sourcing its crucial crude oil supplies from Iran, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday exempted payments made for crude oil purchased from the Persian Gulf nation from any local tax, virtually facilitating oil companies in India to pay Iran in the Indian rupee.

    Iran had in January agreed to accept 45 per cent of the value of its oil exports to India in Indian rupees but the scheme could not be implemented as the oil companies raised certain taxation issues which could affect the payment route and impact both Iran and the oil companies themselves. Iran had at that time represented to the Petroleum Ministry seeking exemption from payment of withholding tax on payments made to Iran.

    It was feared that the money paid to National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) may be considered as income generated by Iranian firms in the country and liable to be taxed. The withholding tax was to the tune of 45 per cent, which neither NIOC nor the refining companies were willing to pay. Mr. Mukherjee in his Budget for 2012-13 exempted payments to Iran from taxes in “national interest”.’ The exemptions would be effective from April 1, 2012.

    Iran is India's second largest crude oil supplier accounting for some 12 per cent of its total crude oil imports. Despite Western sanctions, New Delhi is keen to continue with Tehran as its key crude supplier but had faced problems paying for oil imports. India currently pays about $1 billion a month through a Turkish bank. However, there are fears that U.S. and European sanctions against Iran may eventually block even this route. As a way out, rupee payments had been agreed to.

    Under the mechanism agreed, NIOC will accept 45 per cent of the payments in an account opened in Kolkata-based UCO Bank. UCO Bank has been chosen because it has no U.S. or European exposure and its overseas presence is limited to Hong Kong, Singapore and China.

    The Hindu : Business News : Govt. clears the way for hassle free payments to Iran for crude oil
     
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  3. H.A.

    H.A. Senior Member Senior Member

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    yay......time for sanctions = time for internal development = more R & D = more success = In-house manufacturing = happy India.
     
  4. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Looks like Urea imports from Iran are not going to be procured by the govt.
     
  5. spikey360

    spikey360 Crusader Senior Member

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    This rule is very easy to circumvent. Tell Iran to load tonnes of Urea marked made in Mauritius/Bangladesh onto ships and sail to Mauritius or some other country like Bangladesh etc, dump the product in their ports, let Indian ships pick it up from their and bring into Indian markets. :laugh:
    Ofcourse, cost increases, but not so much as it would if Urea shortage comes about. Plus, if Urea suffers a shortage, the whole food supply chain will be hit and the country will see yet another set of food inflations. MMS may not have to worry about food, but the majority of poor Indians have to.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    So, finally the US has stirred!

    But who will wake up the slumbering Manmohan?

    Krishna remains clueless since there is no indication from Sonia so far that he can read!
     
  7. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Yeah there are sanctions, so we route the payments through banks which has less exposure to US, EU countries. Additionally our oil imports from Iran are coming down every passing day. Its a win-win.
     
  8. panduranghari

    panduranghari Senior Member Senior Member

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    In 2012 sactions will hurt a lot less than what they could have hurt in 1998. We got through that rough patch then, it will not be much difficult now.

    US can rattle its sabre at some other pussy.
     

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