U.S. wants to wean India off Iran's oil

May 7, 2012 at 8:59 AM
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NEW DELHI, May 7 (UPI) -- New Delhi is making steps to lessen the amount of crude oil it purchases from sanction-strapped Iran, visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

Clinton arrived Monday in New Delhi to discuss trade issues and ongoing security concerns in nearby Afghanistan. The visit comes nearly two months before a June 28 deadline for countries to reduce their imports of Iranian oil or face financial penalties from the U.S. government.

New Delhi relies on imports for as much as 80 percent of its oil needs and counts on Iran as its No. 2 supplier. The government has called for a gradual move away from Iranian crude, however, because of sanctions pressure on Tehran.

New Delhi, said Clinton, is "certainly working toward lowering their purchase of Iranian oil," reports Bloomberg News.

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.

Japan and 10 members of the European Union were granted exemptions from financial penalties by the White House earlier this year for reducing imports of Iranian crude oil. Clinton, reports Bloomberg, said it was too early to make any similar declarations regarding India.

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