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US 'working hard with India' over Iranian oil issue

March 23, 2012 10:44 IST

The United States is in touch with several countries, including India and Turkey, on how to "significantly reduce" their dependence on Iranian oil to avoid American sanctions in this regard, a State Department official has said.

"We are working hard with India to see if we can help with regard to reducing the country's dependence and the dependence of any of the other countries on Iranian crude, and looking at alternative sources of supply as well," said State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland.

"Our conversations continue with all the other countries that want to talk to us, which continue to have issues with the amount of Iranian crude that they import. India is one of those countries," she said in reply to a question.

When asked what actions the US was contemplating against those nations which are importing Iranian crude, Nuland said, "I don't have anything to announce, and our bilateral consultations continue with a whole raft of countries that have not yet been exempted."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a day earlier, had announced a list of 11 countries that have been exempted from US sanctions on Iran.

India, China, Turkey and South Korea are among the rest of the 12 countries whose cases are being reviewed now.

"The National Defence Authorisation Act establishes sanctions related to transactions with the Central Bank of Iran and other US-designated Iranian financial institutions.

The law also includes an exception for countries that significantly reduce their volume of purchases of Iranian crude oil," the State Department said in a statement.

"We will not comment on the status of ongoing diplomatic discussions. We expect countries that want to be considered for an exception to specify the actions they are taking to reduce significantly their imports of Iranian crude oil," the State Department said in an emailed statement to reporters in response to a question.

Lalit K Jha In Washington
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