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The US may provide relief to eight countries, allowing them to continue purchasing Iranian crude oil as per the significant reduction exemptions (SRE) — a waiver on sanctions awarded to them earlier.

Trump administration on Tuesday indicated that the sanctions waiver may continue to be in operation even after the six-month period expires. It nevertheless will continue working with the SRE recipients to end imports of Iranian crude.

"Each of those jurisdictions had already demonstrated significant reductions of the purchase of Iranian crude over the past six months, and indeed two of those eight already completely ended imports of Iranian crude and will not resume as long as the sanctions regime remains in place. We continue working with the remaining SRE recipients to end imports of Iranian crude", a US State Department spokesperson conveyed to media outlet The Hindu.

India and the US discussed the sanction waiver issue in a meeting held between Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday in Washington. The Foreign Office consultation meeting between the two countries on Tuesday had this as one among its points of discussion. The discussions also involved counter-terrorism cooperation along with the Afghanistan and Venezuela issues.

"They also discussed counterterrorism cooperation and a range of global and regional issues of mutual interest, including the current situation in Afghanistan, DPRK, Iran, and Venezuela", a statement issued by the US Department of State read.

The Indian government had already conveyed to the US that it wants to keep buying Iranian oil at its current level of about 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) even after April this year.

New Delhi faced a similar situation in 2012, but on that occasion, it managed to meet the US requirements by significantly reducing its imports from Iran, thus meeting the criteria for exemptions granted under the SRE category of NDAA 2012.

Earlier, the US had granted significant reduction exemptions (SRE) to China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey in November 2018 for a period of six months.

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