US may extend sanctions waiver for India's oil imports from Iran

India is expected to get yet another waiver from sanctions that Washington and Brussels have imposed on Tehran's nuclear programme as, according to US government officials, this country has made "tremendous progress" in reducing oil imports from Iran.

"All of the data is certainly pointing in a positive direction," US under secretary for political affairs Wendy Sherman told reporters today.

''I think India has made tremendous progress in reducing the level of its imports of Iranian oil. India has long been a leader in non-proliferation, stood side by side with all of us in the international community to say that Iran should not acquire a nuclear weapon,'' Sherman told the media.

''That decision will be made shortly and all of the data is certainly pointing in a positive direction,'' she said in answer to a query.

India has reduced Iranian crude purchases to less than 13 million tonnes in the current financial year from 18.1 million tonnes last fiscal. However, India is reliant on imported crude and is reluctant to completely stop imports from Iran.

India is the second largest buyer of crude oil from Iran after China. Other Asian buyers, including China, Japan and South Korea, have cut oil imports from Iran to secure waivers and continue imports of lesser volumes.

The sanctions imposed by US and the European Union have choked the flow of oil money into Iran, nearly halving it to $5 billion in 2012. The western powers want Iran to agree to their demand to end its controversial nuclear programme.