WASHINGTON: The US is “highly gratified” by the cooperation from a “great friend” like India in enforcing the oil sanctions on Tehran, the White House said on Wednesday as the Trump administration slapped sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
Tensions between the US and Iran have heightened after Washington last year withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal that aimed to curb Iranian nuclear activities.
Washington has since reimposed crippling sanctions affecting the Iranian economy.
The US slapped sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif on Wednesday which will curtail his international travel and freeze his assets in America.
“We have been highly gratified by cooperation from a great friend and partner like India, and even less well-aligned countries such as China, in making the rather obvious choice that the United States would be the business partner of choice, not Iran,” a senior official told reporters during a conference call.
India, which has galloping energy needs, went out of its way to co-operate with the US.
India has brought down the import of oil from Iran to almost zero though the country has historic and cultural ties with the Persian Gulf country.
India stopped importing oil from Iran after American waivers granted to eight major buyers expired in May this year.
Referring to an open source information, the US official, requesting anonymity, said Iranian export of oil for July was at 1,00,000 barrels per day, which is down considerably from the previous historic low of 7,81,000.
The official credited the Trump administration for this and added that Iran has very little to offer in terms of being a trading partner.
“The United States just continues to be appreciative, particularly of India’s cooperation, and continues to be very mindful of India’s legitimate energy needs,” the senior official said responding to a question on reports about talks between India and Iran on oil trade through their own currencies.
“We are very happy as a major energy producer to contribute to what we see as an ample supply to the global market that can keep India amply supplied with energy,” said the official.
A second senior administration official said that the US officials have been all over the world very carefully making sure that all of its partners and allies and companies around the world understand the consequences of violating the sanctions.
The US has been very explicit about the need to ensure that the sanctionable activity has ceased, the official said.
“We’re getting very important results there,” the second administration official added.