India defies USA, buying Iranian oil despite sanctions

Despite US sanctions, India to continue buying Iranian oil

Indian refiners imported around 10 million barrels of Iranian oil in October, and its November shipments are expected to be lower.

Hedge funds cut their bullish wagers on US crude in the latest week to the lowest level in almost a year, data showed on Friday.

"One way or another, it looks as though India is going to take some Iranian crude", said Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix, adding that the development was helping oil to "retrace some of the price surge we saw last week". It is likely other buyers of Iranian oil - the EU, Japan and South Korea - may also be allowed to continue to buy from Iran for some more time.

"Refiners have placed November nominations to lift 1.25 million tons (about 9 million barrels) of oil from Iran", Reuters quoted a source as saying.

Trump administration officials told the Free Beacon in June they are "not granting waivers" to some countries importing Iranian oil, but walked that statement back late Monday when a USA official disclosed it is now actively working to grant "individual countries" waivers from the new oil sanctions.

"A source said: "It is still early to say how India will settle its trade with Iran", and said it may consider paying for the oil with the rupee currency".

U.S. sanctions against Iran will kick in from 4 November, which will block payment routes.

India's foreign minister said in May it abides only by sanctions imposed by the United Nations and not those imposed by any other country. "So let us see how it evolves".

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That is the longest streak of weekly cuts since October a year ago.

Both Iran and Russian Federation have condemned the Trump administration for withdrawing from the deal, a move that will reimpose USA sanctions suspended under the accord to choke off the Iranian economy.

India has a strong trade and diplomatic relationship with both Iran and the US.

"These officials are planning to announce that it's OK to give banks waivers because re-imposed sanctions on businesses are sufficient", the source explained.

India is the world's third-largest oil importer, and Iran's second-biggest oil customer after China.

Saudi Arabia had previously claimed it had successfully replaced Iranian crude oil supplies lost through U.S. sanctions.

Meanwhile, the International Court of Justice ordered the U.S. on Wednesday to ease some sanctions against Iran, including those related to the supply of humanitarian trade, food, medicine and the safety of civil aviation.

Besides blocking of banking channels from November, the absence of payment mechanism may pose a challenge to the transportation of the oil as Iranian crude is bought on a CIF basis and shipped on Iranian tankers.

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