India hesitant to put curbs on Iran: Report

India is hesitant to implement all aspects of US and European Union (EU) sanctions against Iran, a congressional report has said. The report attributed India’s stand to New Delhi's reliance on Tehran on Afghanistan and the historic, cultural and economic ties between the two nations.

“India is implementing UN sanctions against Iran but its cultural, economic, and historic ties—as well as its strategic need for access to Afghanistan—have made India hesitant to adopt all aspects of the US and EU sanctions on Iran,” the independent and bipartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) said in its latest report on Iran.

“India first signalled greater support for sanctioning Iran in late 2012 when its central bank ceased using a Tehran-based regional body, the Asian Clearing Union, to handle transactions with Iran,” said the report.

Apparently perceiving international sentiment for tightening sanctions on Iran, India has been reducing its dependence on Iranian oil, CRS said.

Since 2008, India has reduced its imports of Iranian oil by volume and as a percentage of India's total oil imports, to the point where, by the end of 2012, Iran was only supplying about 10 per cent of India's oil imports, down from over 16 per cent in 2008, it said.

“Despite requiring significant investment to switch over refineries that handle Iranian crude, deputy oil minister R P N Singh told Parliament on May 15, 2012, that India would cut Iranian imports by another 11 per cent from May 2012 until the end of India's fiscal year in March 2013,” the CRS told US lawmakers on its latest report on Iran.

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