India's energy ties to Iran under scrutiny

WASHINGTON, March 15 (UPI) -- Hitting Indian companies or other entities dealing with Iranian crude oil with sanctions should be a White House consideration, a consultant said.

The U.S. law targeting Iran's central bank applies to a country that isn't making significant reductions in its crude oil purchases from Iran by the second quarter of 2012.


If New Delhi doesn't cut back, the White House might target New Delhi with sanctions because of its energy ties to Iran.

Given the level of trade, and in particular oil, between Iran and India, targeting an Indian entity that facilitates Iran's access to the international financial market should be top of mind for the U.S. Treasury," Avi Jorisch, a former Treasury Department official, told Bloomberg News.

Indian contracts with Iran typically expire by April and any reductions wouldn't start until after that, Indian officials said.

"We abide scrupulously by U.N. authorized sanctions," Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told Bloomberg News.

India and its Asian counterparts are the largest purchasers of Iranian crude oil. The news service said the White House may impose sanctions on India as early as June.

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