Indian refiners start to pay off Iran oil debts

NEW DELHI - Indian companies have paid the first installment of their Iran oil debts, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters on Friday, as money owed on shipments of some 400,000 barrels per day had risen to nearly $5 billion.
Mukherjee said India and Iran have resolved their problem over payments, which started at the end of last year when, under US pressure, the Reserve Bank of India scrapped a long-standing regional clearing house mechanism.
But the new payment mechanism, which uses Turkey's state-owned Halkbank to route payments to Iran, has not received the US Treasury's blessing.
"Treasury has not been consulted on this conduit and has therefore not offered a view," US Treasury Department spokeswoman Marti Adams said in a statement. She did not say whether the Treasury would issue a judgment on the arrangement.
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