Sunday, January 29, 2012

India snubs US call for ban on Iran oil

Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee (file photo)

Source: Press TV

India has refused to bow to Washington's pressure on Delhi to cut its energy ties with Tehran, saying it will continue to buy Iranian oil despite US and EU sanctions.

Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee made the remarks at the end of a two-day visit to Chicago on Sunday.

"It is not possible for India to take any decision to reduce the imports from Iran drastically, because among the countries which can provide the requirement of the emerging economies, Iran is an important country amongst them," the Indian finance minister said.

India, the world's fourth-largest petroleum consumer, is Iran's second largest oil customer after China and purchases around $12 billion worth of Iranian crude every year, about 12 percent of its consumption.

On December 31, 2011, US President Barack Obama signed into law new sanctions against Tehran, seeking to penalize countries importing Iran's oil or doing transaction with Islamic Republic's Central Bank.

Also during their meeting in Brussels on January 23, EU foreign ministers reached an agreement to ban oil imports from Iran, freeze the assets of Iranian Central Bank across the EU, and ban sales of grains, diamonds, gold and other precious metals to the country.

Washington has been trying to persuade emerging economies in Asia -- Iran's biggest oil market -- to cut imports of petroleum from the country. Both India and China have voiced opposition to the sanctions.

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