Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Feb. 17, in New Delhi. Photo: Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

India, a country the Trump administration has called “a key security and economic partner,” will soon test U.S. resolve on Iran. Two Indian firms are reportedly seeking to purchase Iranian oil in November. Should the imports go through, they would contravene the stated U.S. aim of bringing Iran’s petroleum exports “as close to zero as possible” by Nov. 4.

Between the lines: Despite its goal of increasing pressure on Iran, the U.S. is considering “significant reduction exemptions” for countries trying to get to zero. To gain this exemption, New Delhi will likely cite current press reporting about its reduced intake of Iranian crude. However, recent data paints a different picture of India’s Iranian oil imports, which have stayed essentially the same for the past two months.

The details: India is second only to China as an importer of Iranian oil. September data from Tanker Trackers showed New Delhi importing just under half a million barrels of crude oil per day from Tehran — almost one-quarter of the country’s total crude exports for that month.

Washington, which left the Iran nuclear deal in May, is restoring a second, much heavier batch of sanctions on Iran in early November, targeting the country’s energy, shipping and insurance sectors. New Delhi, which initially contested the previous round of oil sanctions on Iran before reducing imports, is again publicly at odds with U.S. policy. This divergence on oil, as well as on other issues such as Russian arms imports, was on full display when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to India in September.

The bottom line: Much is riding on the Trump administration’s decision to use coercive financial measures to bring Iran back to the negotiating table. If the U.S. decides to spend political capital on sanctions waivers, it should do so only for countries genuinely reducing their dependence on Iranian crude. Otherwise, it risks undercutting the efficacy of its own sanctions, as well as ceding leverage in its relationships with countries that continue to transact with Iran.

Behnam Ben Taleblu is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Go deeper

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!