New Delhi, May 15: Under pressure from the US, India today announced lower oil imports from Iran even as the CPM criticised the government for toeing the American line.
?The target fixed for import of crude oil from Iran for the year 2012-13 is approximately 15.5 million tonnes,? minister of state for petroleum and natural gas R.P.N. Singh said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.
Imports, therefore, will be lower by 11 per cent from 17.44 million tonnes brought from Tehran in the last fiscal.
The country plans to reduce its dependence on the Islamic nation in the future as sanctions by the US and EU act as an obstacle to shipments.
However, US special envoy Carlos Pascual told agencies that ?we are not too impressed today?.
Pascual, who has been negotiating with Indian oil importers to cut their shipments, met foreign ministry officials on Tuesday and made the comments before his meeting.
?We?re really going to talk about the broad developments of global energy. How we work together on these issues. It?s a great relationship,? he said.
The CPM in Parliament alleged that the government was buckling under US pressure.
Raising the issue during the Zero Hour in the Rajya Sabha, CPM?s Prashanta Chatterjee said, ?Steps are being taken to cut Iranian oil import. India is succumbing to US pressure... I demand a statement from the Prime Minister.?
R.P.N. Singh said refiners based their import targets on ?technical, commercial and other considerations?.