Gold for Iran oil report speculative: India
website has suggested that India has agreed to pay Iran in gold
for oil purchases, but Indian authorities have called the report
In an "exclusive report" on Jan 23 this year, the website,
New Delhi: Unfazed by
the US and EU sanctions, India Thursday said it is open to all
mechanisms for payment, "whatever it takes," to buy Iranian oil as
it contributes around 12 percent of New Delhi's oil imports and
it's difficult to find replacement on this scale.
It could include a mix of options that will enable India to buy
Iranian oil without violating the UN sanctions, highly-placed
government sources told IANS a day after an Israeli website
suggested that India has agreed to pay Iran in gold for oil
Sources added that India is confident of finding "a way out" to
buy Iranian oil without being seen as breaker of UN sanctions.
All options are open, said sources involved with decision-making
on this sensitive issue. They neither confirmed nor rejected the
option of paying for Iranian oil in gold.
There was, however, no official reaction to the Israeli website's
disclosure. Aware of the sensitivity of the issue, some Indian
authorities have chosen to play it safe, calling the report
Indian officials, who did not want to be identified, pointed out
that they were working out with their Iranian counterparts on the
options they have to make payments toward oil imports.
"We have time till June end to decide on our options and to
exercise them," an official told IANS.
In an "exclusive report" on Jan 23, the website, debka.com, quoted
Iranian sources as saying that "India is the first buyer of
Iranian oil to agree to pay for its purchases in gold instead of
The report, which went online soon after an Indian official team
visited Iran last week, also claimed that China may follow suit,
noting that India and China buy about one million barrels a day
from Iran, which amounts to 40 percent of that nation's total
exports of 2.5 million barrels per day.
"By trading in gold, New Delhi and Beijing enable Tehran to bypass
the upcoming freeze on its central bank's assets and the oil
embargo which the European Union's foreign ministers agreed to
impose Jan 23," it claimed.
On Monday, European Union foreign ministers had agreed to ban oil
imports from Iran from July 1, 2012, in an effort to force Tehran
from developing its nuclear arsenal.
Oil imports, particularly from Iran, are critical for India's
energy security, as over 70 percent of oil requirements come from
outside the country. Iran accounts for about 12 percent of India's
total oil imports.
India's Petroleum Minister S. Jaipal Reddy Wednesday reacted to
the European Union's sanctions against Iran, saying New Delhi
would continue to explore "options" for paying Tehran for its oil
imports. He also noted that India would only abide by the
sanctioned imposed by the UN.
Among the options India is considering for paying Iran is to do
business using Indian currency on the lines of the arrangement
with Russia in the past.
A few days ago, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai made it clear that
India follows the UN sanctions, but is not bound by unilateral
sanctions imposed by other countries.
"We continue to buy oil from Iran," he replied when asked whether
India was seeking waiver from the US sanctions, cleared on
December 31 which seeks to penalise any financial institutions
dealing with Iran's central bank.
India has been in a fix for over an year on finding a viable
mechanism to pay for Iranian oil after the Reserve Bank of India
scrapped the Asian Clearing Union, which served as a clearing
house for trading with Iran.
For some time, India routed its payments through a German bank and
later a Turkish bank, but the US sanctions have made these options