India decides to cut Iran crude imports by 11 percent

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In the face of US sanctions on Iran, India has decided to reduce crude oil imports from the gulf nation by 11.1 percent to 15.5 million tonnes during the 2012-13 fiscal, Parliament was informed Tuesday.

“The target fixed for import of crude oil from Iran for the year 2012-13 is approximately 15.5 million tonnes,” Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas R.P.N. Singh told the Rajya Sabha.

Total crude oil imported from Iran by Indian companies during 2010-11 and 2011-12 was 18.50 million tonnes and 17.44 million tonnes, respectively, Singh said in a written reply.

India imports 80 percent of its crude oil requirements of which Iran supplies as much as 12 percent.

Iran is India’s second largest oil supplier. But the US has been rallying for reduction of crude imports to force the Islamic republic to stop its military nuclear programme that Tehran says is only for civilian peaceful usage

The US suspects that under the guise of its peaceful nuclear programme, Iran is building atomic weapons.

Earlier, India had maintained that it was not possible to take any decision on reducing imports from Iran drastically as it was important in meeting India’s growing energy needs.

Earlier this month in an interview to a television channel, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had also said that the United States will work to help India with technical assistance to reduce its dependence on Iranian oil.

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