(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday urged India to cut oil imports from Iran to keep up the pressure on it in order to halt its disputed nuclear program.
"India is certainly working toward lowering their purchase of Iranian oil, and we commend the steps they have taken thus far. We hope they will do even more," she said at a town-hall meeting in the eastern metropolis of Kolkata.
India is against expanding Western sanctions on Iran and has reluctantly reduced oil imports from the country.
According to local media reports, Indian oil companies have cut Iranian oil imports so that Tehran, which used to supply 12 per cent of India's oil imports less than two years ago, now accounts for just more than 9 per cent.
"The reason why India, China, Japan, European countries, who are the primary purchasers of Iran's oil, are being asked to lower their supplies is to keep the pressure on Iran," Clinton said, adding there was an adequate supply on the market for alternative sources of oil.
Clinton said it was "too early to say" whether India would be given a waiver from US sanctions that begin in late June on countries that keep buying oil from Iran.
The US State Secretary arrived in India Sunday on a three-day visit during which she was expected to discuss foreign direct investment in retail, the India-US civilian nuclear deal and Iran.