Iran 'will not cut India oil over payment row'
Tehran, July 3, 2011
Iran will not cut oil supplies to India despite warning to refiners over their failure to pay for several months, an official was quoted as saying by the Oil Ministry's news website Shana on Sunday.
"A warning has been sent to those refineries that are debtors but sending such a letter does not mean Iran's oil exports have been cut and we have no intention to cut our exports to the Indian market," Mohsen Ghamsari, head of international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Co. (NIOC), was quoted as saying.
In a letter to Indian refiners dated June 27, Iran threatened to halt oil supplies in August unless the problem was solved, sources at the refiners and NIOC told Reuters on Friday.
India owes Iran $2 billion for oil imports in recent months due to the payments dispute related to US moves to isolate Iran, which Washington suspects of seeking nuclear weapons. Tehran denies such a charge.
The impasse was triggered in December when the Reserve Bank of India ended a regional clearing mechanism, under US pressure.
Another NIOC official, Deputy Oil Minister Ahmad Ghalebani, said that although some news reports had said Iran had already cut its exports to India, it was not true.
"Iran's crude exports to India are continuing and the news reported in some media that Iran has cut its crude exports to India is absolutely wrong," Shana quoted him as saying.
Ghamsari said he was optimistic about talks with India. "The talks with the Indians are still under way, and considering our country's good relations with India, we are hopeful that this problem gets solved as soon as possible." - Reuters