India owes Iran $5 billion for oil imports

TEHRAN: Iran said on Monday India’s latest payment balance on crude oil imports from the Islamic state stands at $5 billion, the official IRNA news agency quoted the governor of the Central Bank of Iran as saying.

“Payment on oil transactions are (usually)received one or two months after their completion, and consequently there is always a balance of payment standing in favour of Iran,” said Mahmoud Bahmani.

He made the comment before a number of Iranian economic officials including Economy Minister Shamseddin Hosseini and a senior lawmaker to set the record straight on differing figures quoted by various Iranian government officials on the payment problem between the two countries.

India reportedly owes Iran billions of dollars for oil imported in the months since Indian banks blocked transfers of money to Tehran under pressure from Washington , which suspects Iran of trying to make nuclear weapons.

Bahmani said the two countries had been in talks to resolve the payment problem, taking also into consideration the issue of western banking sanction in place against Iran.

He said “appropriate measures” had been taken to resolve the problem with a view to the banking sanction.

“If Iran is subjected to sanction it is because of political considerations and we have to recognize that we are currently struggling against it.”

Iran says Indian buyers have been paying the billions they owe into a joint bank account that Iran cannot access since the Reserve Bank of India ended a regional clearing mechanism in December 2010, but the Islamic state will keep sending crude anyway so rival suppliers would not take more of Asia’s third biggest consumer market.

To ensure that his country has no intention of stopping oil exports to India over the payment problem, Iran caretaker Oil Minister Mohammad Aliabadi said earlier this month Iran will not cut oil supplies to India which will find a way to pay for its exports within the next two months.

Iran supplies around 12 percent of India’s oil import requirements.


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