0629 GMT January 20, 2019
Sri Lanka’s Minister of Science, Technology and Research Susil Premajayantha on Sunday told Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that his country is still interested in purchasing crude as well as oil products from Iran, Press TV reported.
Premajayantha, on a visit to Iran at the invitation of Iran’s Vice President for Science and Technology Affairs Sorena Sattari, also expressed hope that energy relations between Sri Lanka and Iran would expand now that the sanctions against Iran have been removed.
Zarif described as important the expansion of Iran’s relations with Asian countries including Sri Lanka.
He also emphasized that the removal of sanctions against Iran could provide an opportunity for Iran and Sri Lanka to boost their relations in all areas.
Sri Lanka was dependent almost entirely on Iran for its crude oil supplies before halting imports in what appears to have been a result of US-led sanctions over the past few years.
Before the sanctions, the Asian country bought almost all of the 50,000 barrels of oil which it needs per day from Iran. Sri Lanka’s only refinery, the Sapugaskanda plant, is configured to run on Iranian light crude.
The sanctions had left Sri Lanka struggling, with its sole refinery facing shutdown from time to time amid shortfalls in the absence of Iranian crude.