New Delhi, March 23: India is likely to grant Iran’s request to be paid fully in euros for oil, against the current practice of partial payment in rupees.
Iran’s oil exports have increased following the easing of sanctions by the US and the EU — under an interim arrangement — after an inspector from the International Atomic Energy Agency found out that the Islamic nation had stopped uranium-enrichment activities.
Oil ministry sources said India would be willing to make payments in the currency of Tehran’s choice once it gets a formal request.
However, sources said Delhi would keenly watch the resumption of nuclear talks among the officials of Iran and the EU-US for a comprehensive deal. India will be looking to get some clarity on trade issues.
The participants, building on the interim arrangement reached in November, have set a July deadline for the deal.
Reports quoting Mohsen Qamsari, director for international affairs of the National Iranian Oil Company, said, “Indians are interested in increasing oil imports from Iran and we welcome this matter in the event that it would be possible for us to receive payments in euros in our accounts.”
The Geneva deal, which came into effect in January, offered Iran as much as $7 billion in sanctions relief, including the relaxation of curbs on trade in petrochemicals and auto parts.
“After the scaling back of some bans on Iran’s oil transactions following the Geneva accord, Indians have expressed interest in buying more oil from Iran within the framework of this agreement,” Qamsari said.
During April-January of the current fiscal, India imported 8.47 million tonnes (mt) of crude oil from Iran.
Prior to the sanctions, imports were much higher at 21mt in 2009-10, though it tailed off gradually to 13mt in 2012-13.
The US wants India to cap its oil imports from Iran at 11mt during the 2014 calendar year.
India had planned to cut Iranian oil imports by 15 per cent in 2014-15, if western sanctions were not eased.