India makes $550 mln oil payment to Iran

NEW DELHI - India made a $550 million payment to Iran on Thursday to partly clear pending oil dues, under an interim deal that allows Tehran access to $4.2 billion in blocked funds globally, industry and government sources said.


Asian buyers such as Japan and South Korea have cleared some of their oil dues as per a payment schedule approved by world powers in a breakthrough deal with Iran in November.


Iran wanted the last three installments, totalling $1.65 billion, from India. New Delhi could not, however, remit the funds sooner as the banking channel to make payment had not been established.


The mechanism now in place allows Tehran to be rewarded for cooperating in talks with world powers over its nuclear program, while meeting a US insistence that the funds can be properly tracked, sources say. (Reuters)