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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in New Delhi on Monday (May 7) amid mounting pressure on ally India to further reduce its Iranian oil imports, making clear Washington wanted to see further action before granting New Delhi a waiver from U.S. financial sanctions.
Iran is the second-largest supplier of crude to the energy-hungry country.
Publicly, India has rejected Western sanctions but privately it has pushed local refiners to start cutting imports of oil from Iran by 15-20 percent.
The issue has become an irritant in ties between the two allies. India is unwilling to be seen to be bowing to U.S. pressure and is reluctant to become too reliant on Saudi Arabia for its oil needs, which officials say privately would be strategically unwise.
But Clinton said Washington wanted to tighten the noose of economic sanctions on Iran to force it to the negotiating table over its nuclear programme.