Will continue to buy oil from Iran, says Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai

BERLIN: Notwithstanding severe economic sanctions slapped by the US and UN against Iran, India will continue to buy oil from "vital supplier" Iran, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said here today. 

"We will continue to buy oil from Iran," Mathai said adding that the recent decline in 
oil import from Iran was due to logistics andbanking problems and not because of any other reason. 

Mathai, who is part of the delegation accompanying Prime Minister 
Manmohan Singh here, stressed that import decisions are taken by the oil marketing companies on commercial basis and the government has no role in the recent decline in the purchases from Iran. 

Refusing to "lay down a quota" for importing oil from any country, including Iran, top Indian officials have made it clear that it will buy oil from wherever it "gets the best deal". 

Asked if there was a particular amount of oil supply India was looking at from sanctions-hit Iran, they said there was no "magic figure". 

"It makes no sense to have a quota. (It is) where we get the best deal...We have to get the best deal for India rather than lay down quotas and lay figures and restrict our freedom," they said. 

Iran's oil exports have declined sharply this year due to lower imports by its key buyers, including India.