India's top bank to stop handling Iran oil payments

India's top bank to stop handling Iran oil payments

The ministry stressed that European sanctions relief for Iran, one of the terms of the nuclear agreement, remain in place, and that government-backed export credit guarantees are still available.

Trump had pledging to re-impose tough sanctions on Iran within 180 days of pulling out of the deal, which was signed during Barack Obama's rule.

India's refiners now use SBI and Germany-based Europaeisch-Iranische Handelsbank AG (EIH) to buy Iranian oil in euros, according to International Olympic Committee and other companies.

The South Asian nation has said it does not follow us sanctions, but companies and banks with links to the USA financial system could face penalties if they do not comply.

Some sanctions take effect after a 90-day "wind-down" period ending on August 6, and the rest, notably affecting the petroleum sector, after a 180-day period ending on November 4.

However, this does not mean Indian refiners will be faced with an insurmountable shortfall.

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Nayara Energy-formerly known as Essar Oil-is said to have started scaling back oil purchases from Iran this month, while another big Indian refiner, Reliance Industries, which owns the world's largest refining hub and has significant exposure to the USA financial system, is reportedly planning to stop importing oil from Iran in October or November. Company officials said that alternate crude oil sources in the Middle East, US and Russian Federation could easily be tapped should Iranian supplies dry up due to payment problems.

"That visit was only exploratory in nature.we are still watching the situation", India's oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan told Reuters earlier this week. India's oil import from Iran jumped last month to their highest since October 2016 to around 705,000 bpd, but expectations are that Indian imports will start dropping from this month because at least two large refiners are said to be getting ready to cut imports from Iran.

Apart from banks, shipping firms and insurance companies have already begun distancing themselves from Iran.

Trump also said he would reinstate United States nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose "the highest level" of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.

"We hope suppliers like Iraq and Saudi Arabia will fill the gap", he said.

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