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Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 14:10
Iran's foreign minister visits India for talks over oil supplies
By Xinhua
Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 14:10 By Xinhua

In this May 28, 2018 photo, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj (right) stands next to her Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif before a meeting in New Delhi. (MONEY SHARMA / AFP)

NEW DELHI — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in New Delhi late Monday night, and is slated to meet his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday, official sources said.

India is Iran's second biggest oil buyer. Iranian oil meets about 10 percent of India's total needs

This is Zarif's second visit to India in 2019. Earlier, he visited from Jan 7-9 and met the Indian leadership. 

The two ministers' meeting on Tuesday assumes significance in the wake of the ongoing spat between Iran and the United States, with the latter imposing sanctions on Iranian oil exports. 

A couple of weeks ago, US President Donald Trump announced that Washington will no longer grant sanctions exemption to Iran's oil customers. 

ALSO READ: US imposes new sanctions, targets Iran's metal sector

The end of the waiver means India cannot import oil from Iran, or else its state-owned or private entities will face US sanctions. 

During his interaction with Sushma Swaraj, Zarif is expected to "explain" Iran's stand on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, popularly known as "The Iran Nuclear Deal" which is an agreement on Iran's nuclear program reached in July 2015 by Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States -- plus Germany), and the European Union. 

A year ago, the US withdrew from the deal, with Trump giving all countries six months time (till November 2018) to bring down oil imports from Iran to zero. However, in November, Washington gave a six-month waiver to eight countries, including India, to bring down oil imports to zero. The six months waiver period ended on May 1. 

READ MORE: Rouhani: Iran to 'keep exporting crude oil' despite US pressure

India is Iran's second biggest oil buyer. Iranian oil meets about 10 percent of India's total needs.

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