Despite sanctions on Iran, India will continue buying oil
Only UN sanctions acceptable, says Mathai
Justifying its stance to continue buying Iranian oil despite US sanctions, India on Tuesday made it clear that the restrictions do not apply to individual nations.
New Delhi has sent a multi-ministerial delegation to Tehran to find out the best ways of paying the West Asian nation for the crude imports, a sign that the US sanctions has had little or no impact on India’s intent to buy oil from Iran.
“We have only accepted sanctions that are made by the United Nations. Other sanctions do not apply to individual countries,” Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told journalists here. “We continue to buy oil from Iran,” he added, confirming the visit of Indian delegation to Tehran to solve the payment issue.
The delegation comprises officials of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Petroleum and Reserve Bank of India.
New Delhi made it clear that it would not request Washington for a waiver from the fresh US sanctions on Iran.
Sources said that New Delhi might offer Bank Markazi Jomhouri Islami Iran – the central bank of the West Asian country – the facility to use its rupee accounts with a bank in India, not only to offset Indian exports, but fund Iranian imports from other countries too.
New Delhi is understood to have considered a proposal to raise India’s exports, including projects, to Iran, in order to ensure uninterrupted flow of crude from that country with an “oil for projects” scheme notwithstanding stricter US and EU sanctions on Tehran.
India is second largest buyer of crude oil from Iran, importing about 352,000 bpd (barrels per day), which amount to 13.5 per cent of West Asian country’s export of 2.6 million bpd. India at present pays Iran, the world’s fourth largest oil producer, about $1 billion every month.
India has been making payments for Iranian crude through Halk Bank of Turkey since the middle of last year. This mode was chosen after much deliberations following Reserve Bank of India’s decision to curb payments through Asian Clearing Union, ostensibly due to US sanctions.
Iran has been under a range of UN and unilateral sanctions by the US and European Union for years, particularly because of its controversial nuclear programme. US President Barack Obama on the New Year eve signed into law fresh sanctions aimed at stopping the flow of fund to Iran from the countries that it exports crude oil to. The new sanctions seek to ban any institutions that deal with BMJII to enter into business transactions with US companies.
The possibility of Turkey being pressurised to stop flow of fund to Iran in the wake of the fresh US sanctions has prompted New Delhi to explore alternative payment modes.
India’s proposal to route the payment to Iran through Russia did not evoke positive response from Moscow.
The 27-nation European Union too may impose an embargo on all purchases of oil from Iran. The bloc recently called upon India and China to join it in enforcing the embargo. New Delhi, however, rejected the call on Tuesday.
“A large number of European Union countries also buy oil from Iran,” said Mathai, adding: “Each country continues to do that.”
- Iran standoff – Jan 17 (energybulletin.net)
- Japan not ready for Iran oil sanctions (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- No directions to oil cos to cut imports from Iran: ministry (thehindu.com)
- Gulf states show rising confidence to rattle Iran (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- India will not reduce oil imports from Iran (thehimalayantimes.com)
- PressTV: India to pay for Iran crude in rupees (jhaines6.wordpress.com)
- Economic Regime-Change Can Stop Iran Bomb (iamiranaware.wordpress.com)
- Iran urges Arab neighbours not to aid oil sanctions (guardian.co.uk)
- Team for Iran to work out oil payment methods (thehindu.com)
- Japan ‘to reduce oil imports from Iran’ (telegraph.co.uk)