The U.S. is in talks with India over the issue of payment of billions of dollars in oil bills to Iran by New Delhi without being affected by American sanctions, a top State Department official has said.
"We are working with the Indians to resolve the situation. There are, we believe, options available that will help them do that that would not trigger sanctions," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters on Friday. "But beyond that, I can't really comment," he said replying to a question about India planning to pay billions of dollars to Iran in unpaid crude oil purchases through Turkey. "I'm just saying we're discussing options with India that will help resolve it," he said. Iran is India's second biggest supplier for crude after Saudi Arabia, exporting about 400,000 barrels per day or 12 of the country's needs in trade worth some $12 billion a year. In July 2010, the U.S. imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Iran aimed at scuttling its oil and gas industries. It placed prohibitive restrictions on banking and foreign exchange transactions with Iranian banks and other financial institutions.