Indian External Affairs minister Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna has dismissed the US call to ban the purchase of Iran's crude oil.
In a Tuesday meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in New Delhi, Krishna described Iran as "a key country for our (India’s) energy needs," AP reported.
"It (Iran) remains an important source of oil for us although its share of our imports is declining," he added in response to Clinton’s call to put an “unrelenting pressure of international sanctions” against Tehran over its nuclear energy program.
India imports around nine percent of its crude needs from Iran, despite Washington’s threats that New Delhi could face US sanctions next month unless it abides by the US unilateral sanction law against the Islamic Republic.
The US imposed tough financial and oil sanctions against Iran in the beginning of 2012 in a bid to pile up pressure on Tehran over its nuclear energy program.
The US unilateral sanctions, slated to take full effect on June 28, seek to penalize other countries for importing the Iranian crude.
The US and the European Union claim that Iran's nuclear energy program includes a military component, and have used such claims as a pretext to impose unilateral sanctions against the country.
Tehran refutes their claims, saying frequent inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency have failed to prove any diversion in Iran's nuclear energy program toward military purposes.