Mumbai: The government is ready to clear the $6.5 billion oil dues to Iran but is waiting for a proper banking channel to be put in place, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Friday.
“$6.5 billion is due to Iran... but they have to create a banking channel. They are looking into it and we are cooperating with them,” Pradhan told reporters on the sidelines of the Maritime India Summit.
He said he had discussed the payments issue with the president of the Iranian central bank and other officials during his recent visit to Tehran.
“They want the money in euros, so there has to be a European bank for this exchange but they have to clarify in which bank they want to take the money into. Some banks are coming forward to receive the Iranian money, though,” the minister said.
The dues to Iran mounted after Western nations and the United Nations imposed economic sanctions on Tehran for its nuclear weapons programme. India had been paying Iran in rupees during the peak of the embargo.
“Very soon, we will be developing a payment gateway or banking clearance mechanism for the payment. So, they have to create a banking channel. They are looking into that and we are cooperating with them,” he said.