MEA commends U.S.’ understanding

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday expressed appreciation for the United States’ waiver on India-Iran energy trade and the Chahbahar Port project. The spokesperson of the Ministry said the port will be of importance in helping the situation in Afghanistan, but reiterated that India will continue to import Iranian energy.

“India is a major importer of crude oil from Iran. This is very important for our own energy security needs. We appreciate the fact that the U.S. has shown understanding of our position and has said that its intention is not to hurt India,” said Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, adding that India is studying the details of the exemption.

The formal response from India came days after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared a waiver for India and seven other countries on energy trade. Iraq has also received a waiver for the import of electricity from Tehran.

Mr. Pompeo has urged the exempted countries to reduce their energy import from Iran, but the Indian spokesperson did not provide any indication on this subject. “I am not at the liberty to give you details about the quantum of crude oil that we will continue to import [from Iran],” said the spokesperson.

He also expressed India’s appreciation on the waiver for the India-Iran Chabahar Port development project, and underlined the importance of the port in regional affairs.

“We appreciate that the U.S. recognised the role which this port will play to bring strategic and long-term benefits to Afghanistan, as well as enhance Afghanistan’s connectivity with the outside world,” Mr. Kumar said.

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