U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised India for reducing Iranian oil imports Monday, but urged more action to pressure Tehran over its nuclear plans.
U.S. officials said India has reduced the amount of oil it buys from Iran in recent months while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government grapples with high inflation and is concerned about prices increasing, CNN reported.
"We think India as a country understands the importance of trying to use diplomacy to resolve these difficult threats and is certainly working toward lowering their purchases of Iranian oil," Clinton said in Kolkata, the first stop on her visit to India. "We commend the steps they've taken thus far and hope they will do even more."
The United States and other Western countries are using economic pressure to try to push Iran into halting its nuclear program they fear is for weapons development. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
Western leaders have encouraged Asian countries that are key buyers of Iranian oil to cut back their purchases. India imports about 70 percent of its oil, with between 10 percent and 14 percent from Iran.
Key world leaders met with Iranian officials this month to discuss the Islamic republic's intentions for its nuclear program. Another meeting is scheduled for later in May.
"We do not believe Iran would have come to the table if there had not been sanctions and pressure," Clinton said. "We do not believe Iran will peacefully resolve this unless the pressure continues."