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India pondering Iran oil imports increase within UN sanctions

NEW DELHI, Sept 12 (KUNA) -- In a bid to lower its surging import bills, India on Thursday said that it is exploring options to increase oil imports from Iran within the framework of UN imposed sanctions.
Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram while speaking to the media said that India was exploring the possibility (of importing oil from Iran) "without violating the (UN) sanctions." The statement has come at a time when recently the Indian Prime Minister called upon the oil ministry to cut USD 25 billion of oil imports to lessen the current account deficit, which has been blamed as the main cause for the shuddering of the Indian economy with the rupee falling to an all-time low last month.
Oil minister Veerapa Moily had recently written a letter to his prime minister whereby he had shown an interest towards increasing oil imports from Iran.
"About 2 million tonnes of crude oil has been imported from Iran so far during the current financial year. An additional import of 11 million tonnes during 2013-14 would result in reduction in forex outflow by USD 8.47 billion (considering the international price of crude oil at USD 105 per barrel)," Moily wrote.
Following the US and European Union sanctions on Iran to stop its nuclear programme in 2012, India's oil imports from Iran have sharply fallen to 46 percent. (end) wk.sd KUNA 121336 Sep 13NNNN