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Will keep buying Iranian oil, says India

Wednesday January 18, 2012 12:08:11 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: India Tuesday said it will continue buying Iranian oil despite US sanctions and is not about to seek a waiver from Washington.

"We have accepted sanctions which are made by the United Nations. Other sanctions do not apply to individual countries," Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told reporters here.

"We continue to buy oil from Iran," he replied when asked whether India was seeking waiver from the US sanctions, cleared Dec 31, which seek to penalise any financial institutions dealing with Iran's central bank.

"A delegation is on its way to work out the mechanism for continued purchase of oil from Iran and to work out the financing mechanism," Mathai said.

The delegation is expected to come back in a couple of days and report to the government. It is expected to explore a rupee-rial barter trade mechanism allowing India to directly trade with Teheran.

Many European countries like Greece continue to buy oil from Iran, added Mathai.

In the wake of the US sanctions on Tehran, India, which imports around 12 percent of its oil from Iran, is keeping "all options open" to continue purchasing Iranian oil and find ways of paying for it.

The US has, however, mounted a diplomatic offensive to get key players and importers of Iranian oil like India, China and Russia to implement sanctions against Iran.

India has made it clear that it will abide by the UN sanctions on Iran, but has contended that unilateral sanctions by some countries (a reference to the US) affect the market and hurts its genuine interests of energy security.

India has been in a fix for the last one year on finding a viable mechanism to pay for Iranian oil after the Reserve Bank of India scrapped the Asian Clearing Union, which served as a clearing house for trading with Iran. For some time, India routed its payments through a German bank and later a Turkish bank, but the US sanctions have made these options unviable.





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