India's Oil Imports From Iran Jump To Record-High In July

Javad Zarif tweet

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif's tweet – complete with map

India's oil imports from Iran last month soared by 85 percent from the 415,000 bpd shipments in July 2017, according to the data obtained by Reuters.

Francis Fannon, US assistant secretary of state for the bureau of energy resources, was recently in China to discuss sanctions, Bloomberg said, citing a US government official.

Washington imposed a series of additional sanctions on Iranian entities and individuals, as well as foreign companies in Iran, squeezing Iran economically.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned the United States against any attempt to stop Tehran's oil trade, threatening to block the strategically important Strait of Hormuz.

Iran launched a naval exercise in the Gulf on Thursday, just days before the USA reimposes sanctions on Tehran, a defence official told AFP.

Iran is also said to have started to offer India cargo insurance and tankers operated by Iranian companies as some Indian insurers have refused to cover oil cargoes from Iran in the face of the returning US sanctions on Tehran.

USA officials have softened their stance after initially saying they would press allies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East to adhere to the sanctions and reduce their imports to zero.

The financial news provider quoted informed officials on Friday as saying that the USA had been unable to persuade China to cut Iranian oil imports and that Beijing's purchases from Tehran last month remained unchanged. "It shows they have not thought about its consequences", Rouhani was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA while on an official visit to Austria's capital, Vienna, in July.

Iran has been furious over U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of an global agreement on Iran's nuclear programme and re-impose sanctions on Tehran.

The first phase hits on Tuesday with blocks on financial transactions and imports of raw materials, as well as sanctions on Iran's automotive sector and commercial aircraft purchases.

Iran wants guarantees from Europe to maintain banking cooperation and investments in Iran's oil fields as well as continuation of cooperation between Iranian and European small and medium-sized enterprises, Qasemi noted. While the Trump administration has said it wants to cut Iranian oil exports to zero by November 4, most analysts viewed that target as unlikely.

In July, Beijing lifted monthly oil imports from Iran by 26 percent.

On Wednesday, U.S. officials told reporters the naval fleet of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is planning to use 100 gunboats in the Persian Gulf to practice "swarm" tactics, an exercise that is usually reserved for the fall.

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