The US State Department says Washington is urging several countries including India and Turkey to "significantly reduce" their dependence on Iranian oil to avoid American sanctions.
"We are working hard with India to see if we can help with regard to reducing the country's dependence and the dependence of any of the other countries on Iranian crude, and looking at alternative sources of supply as well," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland noted.
Asked about actions that US may take against those countries importing Iranian crude including Turkey, Nuland added "I don't have anything to announce, and our bilateral consultations continue with a whole raft of countries that have not yet been exempted," the Business Standard
"Our conversations continue with all the other countries that want to talk to us who continue to have issues with the amount of Iranian crude that they import. India is one of those countries," she said in reply to a question.
On the New Year’s Eve, Washington approved new sanctions against Iran to penalize other countries for importing the Iranian crude or doing business with its central bank.
Since new sanctions were announced, many countries including main Asian customers of Iran's crude, China, Turkey, and India have asked for waivers from US sanctions as they are heavily dependent on Iran's energy resources.
Despite frequent requests from Washington, the Indian government has so far refused to reduce oil imports from Iran and has even come up with a new mechanism for paying Iran's oil price without being affected by US sanctions on Iranian banks.
Turkey’s Energy Minister Yildiz Tanner also announced on March 21 that his country will continue to buy Iran’s crude oil unless new supply sources are found to substitute the Iranian crude.
"It is out of the question for us to stop buying oil from Iran unless the supply is replaced," the minister told reporters at an energy conference in Ankara on Wednesday, The Guardian
The US and EU claim that Iran's nuclear energy program contains a military component and have used such claims as pretext to impose international and unilateral sanctions against the country.
Tehran refutes their claims noting that frequent inspections by International Atomic Energy Agency have failed to prove any diversion in Iran's nuclear energy program toward military purposes.