The Indian government is looking at ways to resume oil imports from Iran despite US sanctions which aim to dry up Iranian revenues, local media reported on Tuesday.
Two unnamed government sources were quoted as saying by the digital news outlet ThePrint on Tuesday that the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi “will immediately initiate talks with Iran to discuss steps that will allow it to resume oil imports.”
Modi is buoyed by an overwhelming reelection victory on Thursday, winning a second five-year mandate with an even bigger majority in the lower house of Parliament.
Earlier this month, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited New Delhi where Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told him a decision on continued oil imports from Iran will be made after a new government is formed, Press TV wrote.
India’s leading website for financial news Business Line quoted an unnamed official as saying that Zarif wanted New Delhi to continue to source at least part of its oil imports from Iran.
India stopped oil imports from Iran after the six-month US waiver for its unilateral sanctions ended on May 2.
A senior government official stressed that India was opposed to the US sanctions.
The government, it said, “is keen to resume imports, though the quantum will be limited.”
The official said Iran’s Bank Pasargad, which has got a license to open a branch in Mumbai, may be used to make payments for the oil supply.
“Payments can be deposited in the Iranian bank and then Iranian authorities can decide how to utilize the money,” ThePrint reported, citing the unnamed official.
India was Iran’s second biggest oil buyer after China, sourcing about 10 percent of its supplies from the Islamic Republic.