India's oil imports from Iran in February plunged by over 60 percent from a year ago to about 260,000 barrels per day (bpd) as New Delhi cuts imports under a sanctions waiver deal with Washington, data compiled by Reuters showed.
For March, Indian Oil Corp had placed an order for 5 million barrels, Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd for 2 million, and Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Bharat Petroleum Corp for 1 million each. He also threatened to deploy the Israeli Navy to help tackle Iran's alleged efforts to illegally take oil through sea routes to avoid United States sanctions.
The United States has reimposed sanctions against Iran after withdrawing from a landmark 2015 agreement under which Tehran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
"We're committed to bringing Iranian crude oil exports to zero as quickly as market conditions will permit", Pompeo said in a speech at IHS Markit's CERAWeek conference in Houston, where USA oil and gas executives, energy luminaries and officials of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries gather annually to discuss global energy development.
Iran is, of course, trying to keep its procuration efforts under the radar as it struggles to keep crude exports going following the re-imposition of crippling USA sanctions.
The Iranian minister also noted that the current defense industry of the country is not comparable to those imported and dependent industries.
Following the last round of sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran this past November that further crippled its oil-based economy, the Islamic Republic resolved to "proudly bypass" them claiming they violated global law after the United States made a decision to quit the 2016 JCPOA that stalled sanctions in exchange for Iran's curtailing its nuclear program.
"On the numbers part, we'll get an updated assessment as we get closer to the end of the 180 day period", of the first round of waivers that ends in May, the spokesperson said. Most Europeans, as well as Japan and South Korea, have stopped. A third Iranian official said talks were still ongoing.
"India, China and Turkey - the three tough cases - will continue to negotiate with the administration and are likely to keep their waivers", one of the sources said.
It is unclear whether the administration will be able to convince China, India and Turkey - all of whom depend heavily on Iranian oil and have criticized the U.S. sanctions on Iran - to reduce imports. OPEC and its allies agreed late in 2018 to cut output by 1.2 million bpd.
He said he expects China and India purchases alone to account for around 800,000 to 900,000 bpd.