Deputy FM: Iranian, Indian banks in talks over oil dues to Tehran

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Rahimpour announced that the country’s banks are in talks with their Indian counterparts over the settlement of the remaining part of the $6.4 billion owed to Tehran for crude oil imports.

“The Central Bank of Iran is responsible for this issue and the two countries’ Central Banks are in talks about it,” Rahimpour told FNA on Sunday.

“Some consultations have been made on the payment of the third installment of India’s oil debts to Iran and affairs are moving on a gradual trend,” he added.

Elsewhere, Rahimpour announced visits by Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Tehran in the current year.

Last Sunday, Rahimpour announced that New Delhi will pay the remaining part of its debt by the end of this year.

Sources said earlier this month that India’s state refiner Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd paid $500mln to Iran in euros through Turkey’s Halkbank while Indian Oil Corp has settled $250mln through the Union Bank of India.

“Today, the paperwork of paying $500mln was done in addition to the $750mln which has been paid in the past few days,” Rahimpour said in an interview with state-run TV.

He said that Iran has received some installments from New Delhi before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Tehran.

“Given the agreements made in this regard, the debt will be paid to Iran soon and during this (Modi’s) visit, negotiations will be held on the schedule for paying the remaining sums, and the remaining debt will be paid by the end of 2016,” Rahimpour said.

The Indian refiners had been holding back 55 per cent of the oil payments to Iran after the route to make payments through Halkbank was stopped in 2013, although payment of some of those funds was allowed after an initial temporary deal to lift the sanctions.

India is one of the biggest buyers of Iranian crude, and is set to import at least 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) from Iran in the year from April 1. But it built up a backlog of payments when Iran was under sanctions.

Modi made a first trip to Iran early this week since he took office in 2016, aimed at deepening energy ties. During the visit, India signed a contract to build and operate the port of Chabahar on the Southern Iranian coast that is aimed at boosting connectivity with Afghanistan and central Asia.

By Fars News Agency