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India can't cut off Iran's oil completely

April 1, 2013 at 8:20 AM

NEW DELHI, April 1 (UPI) -- India can't afford to completely cut Iran from its energy sector despite stiff economic pressure from Western countries, an energy minister official said.

India received a sanctions waiver from the U.S. State Department in December for reducing the amount of crude oil purchased from Iran. A senior official in the Indian Commerce Ministry told The Hindu newspaper in New Delhi, however, that cutting Iran off completely wasn't feasible.

"The Iran-India trade relations apart from oil are on the rise," the anonymous official said. "The Iranians have shown interest in import of various business commodities including agricultural products and any adverse decision on the crude oil front will jeopardize that great opportunity."

The report said that government officials are looking for ways to ensure that remaining Iranian oil shipments to India are insured.

The Hindu reported that India imported around 271,000 barrels of Iranian crude oil per day from April 2012 to February 2013, less than a target of 310,000 bpd. Imports from Latin American countries, have increased.

Western sanctions aim to cut Iran's funding for a nuclear program Tehran says is for peaceful purposes.

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