An Indian official has expressed his country’s willingness to boost trade dealings with Iran despite recent Western sanctions imposed against the Islamic Republic,Press TV reports.

We are trying to boost our exports to various countries, including Iran, so that we would be able to cover large trade deficit,” said Joint Secretary of the Indian Commerce Ministry Arvind Mehta.

Mehta, who heads an 80-member business delegation to Iran, said Tehran and New Delhi plan to further boost their annual trade to USD 25 billion in four years.

According to the Indian official, the current annual trade between the two countries stands at around USD 15 billion, which is tilting in Tehran's favor.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Mehdi Rasekh, the secretary general of Tehran's Chamber of Commerce, said that the existing potentials and the capacities for trade between Iran and India are way beyond the volume that currently takes place between the two countries.

There is a possibility for both countries to expand trade relations in a much wider scale, he added.

The business delegation arrived in Tehran on Saturday for a five-day visit to discuss expanding trade ties between the two countries.

The visit comes despite criticism from pro-Israeli groups in the United States that accuse India of undermining US trade sanctions against Iran over the country’s nuclear energy program.

Iran is India's second-largest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia as New Delhi purchases nearly USD 12 billion worth of Iranian crude every year, about 12 percent of its total consumption.

The two countries have recently signed an agreement regarding Tehran’s oil exports to New Delhi, based on which India will pay for 45 percent of its crude imports in rupees as a means of circumventing new US sanctions against Iran's oil and financial sectors.

On New Year’s Eve, the US imposed new sanctions against Iran aimed at preventing other countries from importing Iranian oil and conducting transactions with its central bank. The measure was followed by the EU on January 23 that also approved sanctions against Iran’s oil and financial sectors.

Washington, Tel-Aviv and some of their allies have been accusing Tehran of seeking military objectives in its nuclear energy program and have used this pretext to push for four rounds of UN sanctions and a series of unilateral measures against the Islamic Republic.

Iran has refuted the allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

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News ID 181585