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Iran paid through Turkey for oil sales to India


Iran is being paid for oil sales to India through a Turkish bank, the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company said Friday on Mehr news agency.

"There is no problem with exports to India and money continues to be transferred through a Turkish bank," said Mohsen Ghamsari.

That bank, however, has warned Iranian authorities that it will not take on new clients making money transfers to pay for Iran's oil exports, Ghamsari was quoted as saying.

India, which buys about 400,000 barrels per day from Iran, had expressed concern that this channel could no longer be used to make payments.

Ghamsari said that "part of the money owed to Iran by India was transferred through Turkey" after noting that the Iranian central bank also had "other channels" to receive its oil revenues.

India announced on Tuesday it would continue buying Iranian oil despite mounting US and EU pressure on the Islamic republic's clients to limit their purchases as long as Iran pursues its controversial nuclear programme.

Iran is India's second-largest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia, providing around 12 percent of the fast-growing country's needs at an annual cost of around ê12 billion.

China, another major client, has also rejected Western sanctions on Iran, while Japan and South Korea have expressed reservations over the consequences such sanctions could have on their economies.

Turkey, which opposes unilateral sanctions against Iran, is also a major client, purchasing gas in addition to oil. Iranian exports to Turkey, mostly from its energy sector, were worth over 12 billion dollars in 2011, according to Iran's media.

This week, during a visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi to Turkey, the two countries said they plan to boost annual trade to 30 billion dollars by 2015.

The West fears Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb. Tehran insists its nuclear programme is purely for civilian use and refuses to abandon its uranium enrichment activities despite four sets of UN sanctions.