INTERNATIONALTOP NEWS

John Bolton slams State Department for defending India on Iranian oil import

WASHINGTON:

Former US national security advisor John Bolton has slammed the State Department for defending India’s position on import of oil from Iran, while claiming at the same time that President Donald Trump had “not been sympathetic” to New Delhi’s case.

In his tell-all book “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir” that hit the stands on Tuesday, there is a sporadic mention of India in the context of President Trump asking countries to bring down the import of Iranian oil to zero and the crisis with Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack.

The US last year had asked India and other countries to completely end their imports of Iranian oil by November 4 or be subject to US sanctions, a decision that comes about a year after America quit the Iran nuclear deal and imposed toughest ever sanctions on the resource-rich Persian Gulf nation.

Iran is India’s third-largest oil supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Iran supplied 18.4 million tonnes of crude oil between April 2017 and January 2018 (first 10 months of fiscal 2017-18). “In a phone call with (Secretary of State) Mike Pompeo, Trump had not been sympathetic to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying, ‘He’ll be okay.’ I recall a similar conversation reflecting Trump’s indifference to notifying allies about waiver decisions,” 71-year-old Bolton wrote in his book, which the Trump administration tried to stall.

“Considering one foreign leader’s trip to Washington, which also raised the ending of a waiver, Trump had a ready suggestion: ‘Do it before he gets here, and then I’ll say I didn’t know anything about it,’ and ‘Do it early in the week. I don’t want to be anywhere near it’,” Bolton wrote.

Bolton also said that he did not like State Department officials defending India’s position on the Iranian oil import. “One of the worst cases involved India, which, like the others, was buying Iranian oil at prices well below the global market because Iran was so desperate to make sales. India complained it would be disadvantaged not only because of having to find new suppliers, but also because the new sources would insist on prevailing market prices!” he wrote.

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