Wells, who was in New Delhi earlier this month as part of the delegation accompanying US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the India-US "2+2" dialogue, said there was no "blanket waiver or country-specific waiver" from US sanctions on trading with or investing in Iran or buying arms from Russian Federation. At the same time, as a report in The Times of India said, there was no clarity on whether New Delhi will get a waiver from Washington.
The IMF said the contraction in the Iranian economy that it now is projecting over the next two years was due to "reduced oil production" under the sanctions.
Trump administration officials have said their goal is to slash Iranian oil exports to "zero".
The news of India's continued importation of Iranian crude had a positive effect on oil prices, with Brent crude down 1.6% to $82.79 at the time of writing on Monday morning.
India will buy a total of 9 million barrels of oil from Iran in November, foreign media reported yesterday, citing an industry source, despite USA sanctions on Tehran to return early next month.
That is down from at least 2.5 million bpd in April, before U.S. President Donald Trump in May withdrew the United States from a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and re-imposed sanctions. China is reportedly reducing its oil imports from Iran, though it's not likely to fully comply with the USA demands.
State owned oil and gas company, Indian Oil, was thought to be planning on purchasing 6 million barrels of Iranian oil next month, while Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals were set to buy 3 million barrels, Reuters reported on Friday, citing two unidentified industry sources.
In its World Economic Outlook released late on October 8, the International Monetary Fund said Iran's oil-driven economy is expected to shrink by 1.5 percent this year as a result of declining oil exports, with the drop in economic output accelerating to 3.6 percent in 2019.
After going ahead with the S-400 missile deal with Russian Federation despite the United States threat of sanctions, reports now suggest that India may continue buying oil from Iran even after the sectoral sanction imposed by the U.S. begin on November 4.
Crude oil prices softened on October 5 to close around the $83/billion barrels (bbl) mark after rising to $86/bbl.
Pradhan said he had urged Saudi Arabia's oil minister to keep in mind the interests of oil consuming countries when it came to higher prices.
Soaring crude oil prices have been a huge burden for the Indian consumer and have brought the taxation structure and margins of oil marketing companies under the scanner leading to mass criticism. It added that the effective reversal of fuel price deregulation would also constrain future private sector investments in the sector.
"The basic point is that they are all government companies", Mr. Pradhan said.