NEW DELHI, April 6 (UPI) -- New Delhi said it was looking for different ways to buy crude oil from Iran after U.S. pressure prompted a German bank to stop acting as an intermediary.
Tehran was selling crude oil to India on credit because the Reserve Bank of India closed the Asian Clearing Union in December. The ACU was used to buy crude oil from Iran, though New Delhi faced financial hurdles because of U.S. economic sanctions targeting Iran's energy sector.
New Delhi made a $2.07 billion payment to the Central Bank of Iran for crude oil imports following a three-month suspension during the first week of March. The cash moved to Iran through German bank Europaeisch-Iranische Handelsbank AG.
EIH received euros for the Iranian crude only if Indian importers issued notes saying the money wouldn't be used for sanctioned goods. Officials in the U.S. Treasury Department said that wasn't enough and the German bank said it stopped the payments.
An Indian finance ministry official told the Press Trust of India on condition of anonymity that the government was looking for new ways to buy crude oil from Iran.
"We are working with Iran to evolve an alternative payment mechanism," the official said. "We hope to firm up plans very soon."
Officials in New Delhi said Iran would still send its crude oil to India on credit. India had imported about 12 million barrels of oil per month from Iran.