The Government was planning to revitalise its oil purchases directly from Iran in the context of the United States lifting its economic sanctions on that country, a Minister told the Daily Mirror yesterday.
The Government of Sri Lanka had to suspend its fuel imports from Iran after the US imposed economic sanctions a few years ago. However, the sanctions have now been lifted following the change of Government in Iran.
Asked how the government would pursue oil related transactions with Iran, Petroleum and Petroleum Gas Minister Chandima Weerakkody told the Daily Mirror that he would visit Iran next month to do the needful in this regard.
“I will negotiate with Iranian authorities how we can proceed in this respect,” Weerakkody said prior to his departure for an official visit to the US.
“Once I conclude my visit to the US, I will head for Iran to resume talks on doing transactions with that country again,” he said.
The Government stopped oil related transaction with Iran way back in 2012 due to sanctions.
The Government found it difficult to open Letters of Credit for imports as transactions in US dollars were rendered virtually impractical, as a result of transactions.
The then Government opted for Saudi Arabian fuel. Sanctions against Iran also affected Sri Lanka’s tea exports.
Iran used to purchase tea worth as much as US $ 400 million from Sri Lanka annually.(Kelum Bandara)