Washington, Oct 12 : A top US envoy on Iran will be visiting India this week for crucial talks ahead of the November 4 deadline set by the Trump administration for countries to bring down their import of Iranian oil to zero.
President Donald Trump in May pulled the US 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".
In an attempt to compel Iran to agree to a new accord, Trump reinstated sanctions that targeted the Iranian government's purchase of US dollars, Iran's trade in gold and other precious metals, and its automotive sector.
On November 4, a second batch of potentially more crippling sanctions will be re-imposed on Iran's oil and shipping sectors as well as its central bank. The US has asked buyers of Iranian oil to cut imports to zero starting in November.
During his week-long trip from October 10-17, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook will engage "allies and partners on our shared" need to counter the entirety of the Iranian regime's destructive behaviour in the Middle East, and in their own neighbourhoods, the State Department said on Thursday.
India's Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday said that two state refiners have placed orders for importing crude oil from Iran in November.
Iran is India's third-largest oil supplier behind Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
Of the 220.4 million metric tonnes (million MT) of crude oil imported by India in 2017-18, about 9.4 per cent, was from Iran.
In addition to India, Hook will be travelling to Europe to further discuss US foreign policy toward Iran.
In India, he and Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis R Fannon will meet with their counterparts for consultations, and in Luxembourg, he will attend meetings with officials gathered for the European Union meeting of ministers.
In France, Hook and Bureau of Energy Resources officials will meet with the executive director of the International Energy Agency, and in Belgium, he will meet with EU counterparts to discuss the Iranian regime's continued missile proliferation, the State Department said.
Meanwhile, the US has 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.