Mumbai (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The United States has cleared India from US sanctions after it "significantly reduced" its imports of Iranian oil, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said a few hours before Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna arrives in Washington on an official visit. New Delhi, however, downplayed Clinton's remarks, saying it was a "decision taken by the Obama Administration under its domestic law." Other nations excluded from sanctions are Malaysia, South Korea, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan. Conversely, China could still be hit by sanctions.
In December 2011, the United States passed a law imposing economic sanctions against countries that traded with Iran. It set out a deadline of 28 June for compliance. Its aim is to increase pressure on Tehran to give up its nuclear programme.
Despite Tehran's claims that its nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful, Israel and much of the international community believe Iran's has a secret military agenda.
Last March, Clinton cancelled sanctions against ten member states of the European Union and Japan.
"This is a decision taken by the US Government under its domestic law," India's External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.
"India and the US have a growing strategic partnership. The India-US Strategic Dialogue on June 13 will once again demonstrate the strength of our relationship," Akbaruddin added.
Crude imports from Iran have been a steadily declining share in India's total oil imports, dropping from over 16 per cent in 2008-09 to almost 10 per cent in 2011-12.
Last Month, during an official visit to India, Clinton urged New Delhi to do more to cut oil imports from Iran.