The Trump administration has been forced to consider exemptions to its sanctions against Iranian oil after a backlash from countries dependent on its exports.
As a top USA official headed for New Delhi for talks on Iran sanctions a state department spokesperson on Thursday said "it's not helpful" that India plans to continue buying Iranian oil and go ahead with the purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems, both of which are subject to secondary sanctions under separate U.S. authorities.
Trump in May pulled the United States out of the 2015 nuclear accord, saying it had "failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb" and did not deal with Tehran's "malign activities, including its ballistic missile programme and its support for terrorism".
Reports emerged in early September that India had given permission to state-owned refiners to import oil from Iran on Iranian tankers using Iranian-backed insurance, after the biggest Indian shipping company backed out of Iran voyages due to the US sanctions. Most European companies have pulled out of business with Iran despite attempts by the EU to...
Meanwhile, it said it expected all allies and friends to bring down their purchase of Iranian oil to zero or be ready to face punitive sanctions beginning November 4.
"We make our policies very clear to those countries. We continue to have conversations with the government of Iraq about that particular issue and the implications for the reimposition of sanctions that were previously lifted or even waived under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)", Ms Nauert said.
"We believe that countries coming together and recognising the malign influence that Iran has had around the world is important".
The firm said China had also increased shipments from the Middle Eastern country by 29,000 bpd to 620,000 bpd, while cutting its USA purchases amid an ongoing trade spat with the United States. "We know that Iran and the government of Iran has taken the benefits that it received under the JCPOA and they've poured that money not into their own population, not into the good of the people, not into its medical hospitals and things of that nature, but rather they've used it for its own nefarious programmes", Ms Nauert said. "The President had addressed it - I believe it was just earlier today - which he was asked about that question about whether or not India would buy oil from Iran after sanctions are reimposed".
The spokesperson's observation came a day after President Donald Trump said India "is going to find out ..." And he said, you know, India is going to find out. "The United States government just reviews that very carefully", Ms Nauert said.