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Iran Keeps Selling Oil to India despite Overdue Payments

Service : Economy
TEHRAN, July 4 (ICANA) – Iran said it intends to continue oil exports to India, one of its top crude buyers, although the latter country has not yet settled overdue payments due to the lack of an agreed account settlement mechanism.
Monday, July 04, 2011 4:45:08 PM
Iran Keeps Selling Oil to India despite Overdue Payments

Speaking to the Iranian oil ministry's website, Shana, Mohsen Ghamsari, director for international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company, said "We do not intend to halt our export to the Indian market."

Last week, NIOC warned in a letter to Indian refineries that it could interrupt deliveries in August if they don't clear late payments after the two countries failed to agree on the process to carry the transactions.

Ghamsari confirmed the letter was sent but said it "does not constitute the halt of oil export to India."

He added "the negotiation with India continues" and that the problem will be solved "soon."

Separately, NIOC's managing director, Ahmad Ghalebani said, "Iran's oil export to India still continues and the issued report in some media over halting of Iran's export oil to India is not true."

The question of crude oil payments to Iran came into focus in December, when India's central bank stopped payments to Tehran through the Asian Clearing Union.

India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Iran, Myanmar, Bhutan, the Maldives and Sri Lanka are members of the union. Washington believes Tehran is using the financial clearing house to evade international sanctions.

India then made some overdue payments to Iran through Germany's Deutsche Bundesbank. But, according to media reports, Germany stopped accepting money from India for Iranian oil payments following criticism from the US and Israeli governments.

Yet, Iranian and Indian officials announced in June that they had agreed to continue discussions on crude oil payment issues in future meetings.

On June 1, the Indian Finance Ministry said that it is exploring alternatives to pay for its oil purchases from Iran, however, it said, no date has been set for the next round of talks with Iranian officials.

India currently owes Iran $2bln for oil imports in recent months.

Iran is the second-largest crude supplier to India after Saudi Arabia and accounts for about 13%-14% of the country's oil import bill.

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