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India Bans Iran Nuclear-Related Trade

India has banned trade in all goods and services with Iran that could
help  Tehran pursue development of nuclear weapons, a government
statement said.
The changes were made in new foreign policy trade rules to conform with a
UN Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Iran related to
its nuclear and missile development programme, said the commerce
ministry.

India sits as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

The changes posted on a government website Saturday ban trade in all
equipment, goods and technology which could contribute to Iran’s
enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy water-related activities or to
the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems.

Energy-hungry India, which has long enjoyed warm ties with Iran, has
been treading a delicate path in its relationship with the Islamic
republic as the United States presses New Delhi to break commercial
links with Tehran.

The export ban comes as India has been struggling to work out a long-term method to pay for oil imports from Iran.

Iran is the second-largest crude supplier to India after Saudi Arabia
and supplies up to 14 percent of the country’s oil import needs. India
imports around 80 percent of its crude oil.

India’s central bank, in response to US pressure, said in December oil
and other import payments could not be made through a Tehran clearing
house which Washington alleges is being used to bypass sanctions against
Iran.

The decision meant India no longer had a means to pay for the fuel.

India and Iran have been negotiating for months on ways to resolve the
payment deadlock on a long-term basis and salvage the trade, which is
worth around $12 billion annually.

Late last month, Germany’s Handelsblatt business daily said India was
set to pay Iran for billions of dollars worth of oil imports by
channeling funds to Tehran via the German central bank.

There has been no comment from India but earlier, government officials
said such a route could be a way to break the payments deadlock.