What sanctions? Top five countries buying oil from Iran.

Iran is the third-largest exporter of crude oil in the world, behind Saudi Arabia and Russia. Its economy relies heavily on oil exports. According to tallies from June 2011, here is a list of the top 5 importers of Iranian oil.

2. India

India bought 13 percent of Iran’s oil exports from January to June 2011. Toward the end of that period, it stepped up imports to an average 340,000 bpd, making it the second-largest importer of Iranian crude.

In what is widely viewed as a blip, India briefly became the world’s largest importer of Iranian oil in January. India imported 2.2 million tons of crude oil from Iran, nearly 550,000 bpd according to the Wall Street Journal.

The January spike in Indian imports is due to a recent agreement where India partially pays in rupees for nearly half of its Iranian oil – a mechanism designed to circumvent international sanctions on Iranian oil. A Journal editorial, noting the deal, called India “the mullahs’ last best friend.”

India, with an estimated 300 million citizens without access to electricity and using kerosene instead, has serious energy needs, reports the Monitor.

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