Swiss rejects EU oil sanctions on Iran, India circumvents ban through Tehran tankers

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Switzerland announced on Thursday it will not follow European Union sanctions on Tehran and carry on trading Iranian oil for “foreign policy reasons”.

Reports said Switzerland is one of the top hubs for physical oil trading and hosts a branch of the National Iranian Oil Company NICO. However, it does not import oil from Iran.

The Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs said new sanctions, which come into force on Friday, will affect supplies for the petrochemical industry, telecommunications equipment, as well as the purchase and sale of precious metals and diamonds.

India carries on

Meanwhile, India is loading Iranian crude in tankers owned by the Islamic Republic, industry sources said. The move is a break from a decades-old New Delhi policy that required state-run refiners to transport oil in vessels owned by local shipping companies.

According to a source in Indian oil industry, majority of Indian refiners are scheduled to lift about 300,650 barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian crude oil in July.

New Delhi allowed state refiners to import Iranian oil, with Tehran arranging shipping and insurance, from 1 July. Private refiners do not require such permission.

Iran’s top Asian customers are trying to come up with solutions to keep oil supplies flowing in the face of tightening Western sanctions. Media reports suggest Iran’s daily oil exports in July could fall below half the average shipped in 2011, with Japan and South Korea halting all imports this month.

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