India looks at waiver from US sanctions against oil trade with Iran

After making massive cuts in oil imports from Iran, India is looking to a waiver from US financial sanctions on its oil trade with Iran so as to continue to get supplies from the Persian Gulf nation.

India has cut Iran imports from 18.5 MT in financial year ending 31 March 2012 to 17.44 MT in the fiscal year ending 31 March, 2012. There would be further trimming of imports this fiscal (April to March), by 11-20 per cent (2 to 4 MT).

According to an unnamed 'top government official' quoted by PTI, India had displayed its commitment by cutting imports from Iran, which has been relegated to the third spot amongst largest suppliers of crude oil to India. In 2011-12, Iranian imports made up for about 10 per cent of the total imports, down from over 12 per cent previously, he added.

According to the official, Iran would supply only 7-8 per cent of India's oil needs.

The US might, as early as next week come out with a new list of countries that would receive exemptions to financial sanctions on oil trade with Iran. In March, the US had granted Japan and 10 EU nations an exception and had indicated it had had good talks with South Korea about cuts in oil purchases.

Without a waiver in sanctions, New Delhi would be hard pressed to ship oil from July as insurance companies would not cover ships ferrying Iranian oil.