Iran says will strive to ensure oil supplies to India

In this file photo, A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Gulf, Iran. (REUTERS)
Updated 12 July 2018
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Iran says will strive to ensure oil supplies to India

  • Iran also wants India to expedite its investment and accelerate engagement for the development of Chabahar port in Iran
  • India, Iran's top oil client after China, asked refiners last month to prepare for drastic reductions

NEW DELHI: Iran will do its best to ensure security of oil supply to India by offering "flexible measures" to boost bilateral trade, a statement from Tehran's embassy in New Delhi said.

Iran is the third-biggest oil supplier to India and has offered refiners incentives including almost-free shipping and an enhanced credit period on oil sales.

Imports from Iran could take a hit as the United States reintroduces sanctions on Tehran after withdrawing from a nuclear deal with world powers.

India, Iran's top oil client after China, asked refiners last month to prepare for drastic reductions or even zero Iranian oil imports.

"Iran understands the difficulties of India in dealing with (an) unstable energy market and it has done and will do its best to ensure security of oil supply to India," the statement said.

India's oil imports from Iran fell about 16 percent in June compared to May, tanker arrival data showed.

"Iran has always been a reliable energy partner for India and others, seeking a balanced oil market and regional prices of oil which ensure the interest of both countries as consumer and supplier," the statement said.

India was one of the few countries that continued to deal with Iran during previous sanctions although it had to cut imports from Tehran as banking, insurance and shipping channels were choked.

"We do share a very strong, very good relationship, we are in touch with them (Iran) on several issues including on the fallout of the US withdrawal from (the nuclear deal)," said Raveesh Kumar, India's Foreign Ministry spokesman.

Officials from the US Treasury Department are expected to meet Indian officials next week regarding sanctions on Iran.

Kumar said India is closely watching the situation and will do "whatever is mandated to be done in our national interest."

Iran also wants India to expedite its investment and accelerate engagement for the development of Chabahar port in Iran, the statement said.

The Indian-backed Chabahar port complex is being developed as part of a new transportation corridor for landlocked Afghanistan that could open the way for millions of dollars in trade and cut dependence on neighboring Pakistan.

"We are committed to the development of the Shahid-Besheshti terminal of Chabahar port. We are moving with speed and scale and the work is underway on all interim operations," Kumar said.

India is trying to make Chabahar port operational by 2019, India's transport minister said last month.


Thai boys rescued from cave mourn diver who died

Updated 15 July 2018
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Thai boys rescued from cave mourn diver who died

  • The health ministry said the overall condition for the players and coach was normal
  • Saman was widely hailed as a hero but the boys, aged 11 to 16, were only told about his death on Saturday

CHIANG RAI, Thailand: The 12 boys and their coach rescued from a Thai cave mourned the death of an ex-Navy SEAL who died while taking part in the mission, the health ministry said Sunday.
The “Wild Boars” football team are recovering in hospital following 18 days spent inside the Tham Luang cave after entering on June 23 and getting trapped by monsoon floodwaters.
Doctors say they are in good health following a successful three-day operation which ended July 10 when teams of Thai Navy SEALs and international cave diving experts hauled the last five members of the team to safety.
But the lead-up to the final phase of the mission was met with tragedy when volunteer and former Navy SEAL diver Saman Kunan died on July 6 while installing oxygen tanks along the twisting passageways of the cave.
Saman was widely hailed as a hero but the boys, aged 11 to 16, were only told about his death on Saturday after a medical team said they were strong enough mentally to handle the news, though many wept after hearing it.
“All cried and expressed their condolences by writing messages on a drawing of Lt. Commander Saman and observed one minute of silence for him,” Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk, permanent secretary at the health ministry, said in the statement.
Photos released show the youngsters crowded around a sketch of Saman scrawling messages on it and bowing their heads in commemoration.
“They also thanked him and promised to be good boys,” the statement said.
Tributes from Thailand and around the world have poured in for Saman, a triathlete and diver who retired from the military in 2006 and worked at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport before volunteering to help with the rescue in northern Thailand.
Specialists who took part in the risky mission to bring the Wild Boars home have expressed shock and surprise that they were able to pull it off, with some fearing that there could have been more casualties.
The unprecedented and daring final push to bring the boys out saw them sedated and carried through waterlogged and partially dry corridors with the help of military stretchers and nearly 100 divers.
Health officials have conveyed a largely positive picture of the boys’ recovery. All are expected to leave hospital on Thursday.
The health ministry said the overall condition for the players and coach was normal, though many are still on a course of antibiotics.
Despite the positive assessments so far experts have said they would all need to be monitored closely for signs of psychological distress that could take months to manifest.
They spent nine days in the dark, dank cave before being located by two British divers.
The boys — and their parents — have been advised to spend time with friends and family and not to give media interviews as that could trigger post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.
But the interest in their story is unlikely to evaporate overnight, as Hollywood producers are already jockeying to make a film version of the saga.