NEW YORK – With India cutting down oil shipments from Iran ahead of impending sanctions from the US and the European Union, Iraq has replaced Tehran as India’s second-largest crude oil supplier in the recently ended financial year, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.Citing preliminary government data, the newspaper said Saudi Arabia remained the largest oil supplier, while Iran slid to fourth spot in the year ended March 31.India, which meets four-fifths of its crude oil needs through imports, has expedited its diplomatic efforts to increase purchases from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Iraq to compensate for lower imports from Iran, the Journal said. Globally, Iranian oil exports are declining as importers are cutting shipments ahead of US sanctions that come into effect on June 28, according to report. Sanctions by EU will start on July 1.The US has asked major oil importers such as India, Turkey, China, South Korea and Japan to drastically trim their purchases of Iranian oil or face sanctions on financial institutions that do business with Iran’s central bank.Access to Iranian oil has been complicated by insurance and bank settlement obstacles set up by the West as part of efforts to block the Islamic Republic’s sales networks and force it to abandon an alleged programme to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran, however, says its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes. Shipments to India from Iran fell 5.7pc in the last financial year to 17.44 million metric tons, or 349,300 barrels a day, the oil ministry data showed. Still, India claims that raising imports from other countries doesn’t signal it is bowing to US pressure. It insists it is trying to diversify its oil sources and reduce dependence on any one country.Imports from Iraq, meanwhile, surged 43pc to 24.51 million tons or 490,900 barrels a day. Purchases from Saudi Arabia rose 19pc to 32.63 million tons, or 653,500 barrels a day, and from Kuwait climbed 54pc to 17.67 million tons, or 353,900 barrels a day.