India can't yet use Turkish banks to pay for Iranian oil

NEW DELHI, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Turkish Trade Minister Nihat Zeybecki said the mechanisms aren't yet in place to help process payments from India for Iranian crude oil.

The European Union in January lifted restrictions on insurance and transport of Iranian crude oil. The decision was made in response to Iran's decision to suspend some nuclear research activity according to the terms of an interim deal reached last year with Western powers.


Zeybecki told Indian newspaper the Hindu his country was acting in line with existing embargoes and couldn't help India with its payments for Iranian crude oil.

"When we talk about embargoes, we can see that there is a bit of relaxation or opening in the embargoes," he said in an interview published Monday. "But, currently the normal procedures are ongoing."

India was routing about half of its payments for Iranian crude oil through Turkey's state-owned Halkbank, but that option was blocked in recent years by U.S. sanctions targeting Iran's energy sector.

The Hindu reported India imported about 50 million barrels of crude oil from Iran from April to December, which represents less than 5 percent of India's total oil imports.


Western sanctions on Iran are designed to rob it of revenue it could use to finance a controversial nuclear program.

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