India in talks with US to keep buying Iran crude: Official

India is negotiating with the US to secure another Iran oil waiver, a senior Indian oil official said as the first round of Washington's exemptions expires May 4.

“With respect to Iran, the government of India is talking to the United States [so that] the exemption continues until May. We are in talks with them and let’s see what happens, let’s wait for the result', Indian Petroleum Secretary M. M. Kutty said on the sidelines of CERAWeek in Houston, Texas, Sputnik reports. 

The remark comes after on Tuesday US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the conference that Washington intended to drive Iran's oil exports, which is the country's largest source of income, to zero. India was granted a waiver from Iran oil sanctions in November and has been seeking to extend it until May.

Earlier, Reuters cited two sources in India with knowledge of the matter as saying that India wants to keep buying Iranian oil at its current level of about 300,000 barrels per day (bpd), as it negotiates with Washington about extending a waiver of US sanctions past early May. 

President Donald Trump Administration withdrew the US from a 2015 international nuclear agreement with Iran last May and restored two rounds of sanctions on the country. Although it sought to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero, Washington was forced to grant eight countries waivers to keep buying Iranian crude. India, Turkey, Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan , Italy and Greece have been enjoying the waivers since then. 

Talks with Washington on extending the waiver slowed due to the US government shutdown that extended through January, one of the Indian sources said. Talks have now resumed and India wants to get clarity before general elections scheduled in May, the source said. 

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