April 20, 2010 | Quote

Reliance Industries Ceases Gasoline Sale to Iran

WASHINGTON: A non-profit organisation On Thursday said Reliance Industries has stopped gasoline sale to Iran, following a group of US Congressmen urging the country’s Exim bank to suspend assistance to the Indian firm, until the Mukesh Ambani-led Indian conglomerate stops business with Iran.

“Reliance Industries’s (RIL) has ceased gasoline sales to Iran. Its decision follows receipt of a letter to the Treasury Department from members of the US Congress expressing concerns about Tehran’s development of nuclear weapons, its sponsorship of terrorism and its human rights abuses, especially against Iranian people,” Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) said in a statement.

However, RIL spokesperson said, “as a corporate policy and to maintain business confidentiality, we do not comment on specific transactions.”

The US Export-Import Bank, which provides support to the US exporters, approved USD 900 million in loan guarantees to expand the Jamnagar oil refinery used by the RIL to refine petroleum for sale to Iran. Members of Congress wrote letters to the Exim Bank demanding a full investigation into these loan guarantees.

Meanwhile, informed sources said RIL’s agreement for supplying gasoline to Iran was till December and the Indian firm has not renewed the contract as financial institutions are not ready to provide Iran with the line of credit needed for the same, in light of the US sanctions.

Further, the Executive Director of FDD, Mark Dubowitz said “Doing business with Tehran is a serious threat to the reputation of any business.”

Dubowitz added “the Iranian regime is responsible for abusing its own citizens and murdering innocent civilians throughout the world. Providing the gasoline that fuels the Iranian regime and its military is simply bad business. The other companies exporting gasoline to the regime should follow Reliance’s lead”.

The foundation in its statement said although Iran is a major oil producer, it must import 40 per cent of the refined oil it needs because it lacks the refining capacity to meet its internal consumption. Reliance provides Tehran with about 25 per cent of its refined oil imports or around 10 per cent of the Iran’s total gasoline consumption.

Commenting on the issue a senior official at FDD, Orde Kittrie said this move is a blow to Iran and its nuclear ambitions.

Dubowitz also said, “Executives at Vitol, Trafigura, British Petroleum and Total should take the same responsible steps as their colleagues in Mumbai and stop providing gasoline to a terrorist state that is in flagrant violation of international law.”

The FDD, is the only non-partisan policy institute dedicated to promoting pluralism, defending democratic values and fighting the ideologies that threaten democracy.