A US government official confirmed late Monday the administration is engaged in a process to selectively grant waivers to certain countries still importing Iranian oil.
The world's third-largest oil importer, India relies upon Iran for 9.4% of its crude supplies: in 2017-18 the country brought in 220.4 million metric tonnes of oil from a number of sources.
The details provided by Refinitiv Eikon showed the Islamic Republic exported 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude last week.
Prince Mohammed told Bloomberg on Friday that the kingdom had met its promise to Washington to make up for Iranian oil supplies lost through USA sanctions, reimposed when the United States exited a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and six powers. Pradhan said India has its own energy requirements which need to be fulfilled.
On the fall of crude price, oil watchers likened the cause on expectations that some Iranian oil exports will keep flowing despite US sanctions, easing a strain on supplies.
On Monday, British daily the Financial Times said European finance ministers will meet US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Bali this week and pressure him on allowing Iran to have access to SWIFT.
In May, Trump pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal despite objection from the other signatories, the UK, Russia, Germany, China, and France, re-imposing sanctions lifted under the deal.
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While Washington has said it wants to cut Iran's oil exports to zero, Iran and Saudi Arabia say that is unlikely.
Importantly for the market, the U.S. appears to be softening its tough stance against buyers of Iranian oil and the possibility of some exemptions or in some cases, extension of time limit is real.
White House National Security Advisor John Bolton said only last week that the administration wanted to avoid all waivers and see Iranian oil and gas exports entirely staunched, but that it might not be able to achieve that aim.
Worldwide benchmark Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were at $83.26 per barrel at 0352 GMT, down 90 cents, or 1.1 percent, from their last close.
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.
Reeling from high oil prices, India has also reminded Saudi Arabia of the promise by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) of increasing production by an additional 1 million barrels per day, said Pradhan. To this, taxes at the central and state levels are added, besides dealers' commission, to arrive at the retail price. "The basic point is that they are all government companies", Pradhan said, according to The Hindu.