Tehran: An Iranian trade delegation is to pay a six-day visit to India from Sunday in a return visit after Indian businessmen came to the Islamic republic earlier in the year, media reported on Saturday.

The trip by Indian businessmen less than two months ago was aimed at exploring export opportunities created by US-led sanctions against Iran over its controversial nuclear programme of uranium enrichment.

The Iranians will visit New Delhi and Mumbai in a trip aimed at expanding trade relations and exploring "new avenues of mutual cooperation," the media reports said.

They said memorandums of understanding would be signed between the Tehran Chamber of Commerce and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and Indian export organisations.

An 80-member Indian delegation spent five days in Iran in mid-March in a bid to boost Indian exports as a way of paying the country's huge oil bill. No major agreement announcement was made public after the visit.

India has been walking a diplomatic tightrope as it seeks to drum up more export orders from Iran while managing its growing relations with the United States and keeping ties on an even keel with Israel, a top arms supplier.

Both the West and Israel suspect Iran's nuclear programme may have a covert military aim, a charge vehemently denied by Tehran which insists it is for peaceful energy-generating and medical purposes only.

Fuel-scarce India buys around USD 11 billion worth of oil from Iran a year its second largest crude supplier after Saudi Arabia but sells Tehran just USD 2.7 billion in goods.

India and Iran have worked out a deal under which New Delhi will seek to pay for close to half of its Iranian oil imports in rupees.

The rupee payments will be used by Iran to buy Indian goods, with both nations planning to reach a bilateral trade target of USD 25 billion over the next four years.

In early May, Dow Jones News Wires reported that India's two largest importers of crude oil from Iran will cut such shipments by at least 15 percent this financial year because of US pressure.


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