India is seeking to increase its oil imports from Iran in a bid to limit dollar payouts, a senior Indian official announced on Saturday.
“New Dehli is studying to see how much oil imports it can increase from Iran within the UN regulations,” Indian Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram said today.
On Friday, India’s Oil Secretary Vivek Rae, Commerce Secretary S R Rao and the economic affairs secretary, attended a meeting called by the Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Pulok Chatterji to discuss raising crude oil imports from Iran.
Earlier this week, Indian Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas M. Veerappa Moily said his country would continue to import crude oil from Iran despite illegal US-engineered embargoes against Tehran’s oil and financial sectors.
“As far as Iran is concerned, there are a lot of constraints, but at the same time, within the constraints, we are importing the oil from Iran,” he told reporters after a meeting with Japanese oil ministry officials in Tokyo.
In a letter to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on August 30, Moily wrote that crude oil imports from Iran will save India over $8.5bln in hard currency.
“An additional import of 11mln tons during 2013-14 would result in reduction in forex outflow by $8.47bln,” the Indian oil minister said.
India’s oil shipments from Iran are estimated to rise to 4mln tons in the current fiscal year.
India is among Asia’s major importers of energy and relies on the Islamic Republic of Iran to meet a portion of its energy demands.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on September 1 that there are appropriate grounds for further cooperation between Iran and India in the oil and gas sector.
Washington and its western allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, while they have never presented any corroborative evidence to substantiate their allegations. Iran denies the charges and insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.
Despite the rules enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entitling every member state, including Iran, to the right of uranium enrichment, Tehran is now under four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West's calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment.
Tehran has dismissed west's demands as politically tainted and illogical, stressing that sanctions and pressures merely consolidate Iranians' national resolve to continue the path.
The Islamic Republic says that it considers its nuclear case closed as it has come clean of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s questions and suspicions about its past nuclear activities.