US seeks Indian assurance on Iran as Clinton visits

By REUTERS
May 6, 2012 11:56

 
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KOLKATA - The United States will seek assurances that India will reduce its purchases of oil from sanctions-hit Iran during a visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the South Asian giant this week, a senior US official said on Sunday.

Clinton started a three-day trip to India on Sunday that will coincide with a visit by a large Iranian trade delegation, as India walks a tightrope of strengthening ties with ally the United States and sating its fast-growing energy needs.

During her visit, Clinton will also make the case for the country to open its supermarket sector to foreign chains such as US giant Wal-Mart Stores - a major economic reform that has stalled under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government.

India has publicly rejected Western sanctions but has pushed refiners to cut imports of oil from Iran by 15-20 percent - enough, it hopes, to win a waiver from Washington.

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