According to The Wall Street Journal Iranian crude exports to India rose to 550,000 barrels a day in January, up 37.5 percent from December 2011.
The development, the report said, has partly offset a 50 percent cut in crude exports to China as a result of pricing dispute. China now imports around 250,000 barrels a day from Iran.
The news comes despite the West’s rising pressure on Iran to halt its peaceful nuclear program.
On the New Year’s Eve, the United States imposed new sanctions against Iran aimed at preventing other countries from importing Iran’s oil and doing transactions with its central bank.
European Union foreign ministers also approved sanctions against Iran’s oil and financial sectors on January 23, including a ban on Iranian oil imports, a freeze on the assets of the country’s Central Bank within EU states, and a ban on selling diamonds, gold, and other precious metals to Tehran.
Although financial sanctions have caused problems with regard to payment for Iran’s oil by other countries, they have apparently not been able to deter India.
Iran’s Ambassador to India Seyyed Mehdi Nabizadeh said last Tuesday that India had agreed to pay for some purchases of Iranian oil in Indian rupees, a route that would avoid the risk of an interruption in banking transfers.
Meanwhile, despite a pledge to find alternative supply sources for Iran’s oil, South Africa has also increased its Iranian oil imports to 100,000 barrels a day, The Wall Street Journal quoted an unnamed informed source as saying.
The US, Israel and their European allies accuse Iran of diversion in its peaceful nuclear program and have used this as an excuse to pass four rounds of international sanctions against the country at the UN Security Council.
Refuting the claims, Tehran insists that as a member to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it is fully entitled to peaceful applications of the nuclear energy.
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