Published: Thu, May 31, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Iran, India Resolved to Expand Ties despite US Sanctions

Iran, India Resolved to Expand Ties despite US Sanctions

India is not mediating between the USA and North Korea for talks between those two countries, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Monday.

The visit took place 20 days after Donald Trump withdrew the US from the global nuclear agreement, known as the JCPOA, and is going to reintroduce sanctions against Iran. The two sides will review ways to safeguard both countries' economic interests and prepare the grounds for developing further cooperation between Tehran and News Delhi, he said.

President Donald Trump may have ordered the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran, but one of Asia's biggest oil importers - and a strategic partner of the USA - plans on ignoring them.

Swaraj later met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. "We (India and Iran) have had very good relations in the past and we expect to continue these relations". India and Iran already have an Indian Rupee (IR) mechanism which has worked well during the previous sanctions era.

Amid the USA plan to scrap a rule allowing spouses of H-1B visa holders to work legally in the country, Swaraj said the Government would make all efforts to persuade the Trump administration. Sanctions imposed by the Obama administration, targeting financial institutions dealing with Iran, had forced India to cuts its imports from Tehran.

On Capitol Hill, opponents of the nuclear accord are working on parallel efforts to ensure that any foreign nation caught skirting new USA sanctions on Iran faces harsh repercussions, including massive economic penalties and a possible cutoff from the US financial system.

On Prime Minister Modi holding informal summits with China and Russian Federation, she said, informal summits are new dialogue mechanism by India to strengthen and further deepen bilateral relations. "We believe in United Nations sanctions but not in country-specific sanctions".

According to the External Affairs Ministry, India-Iran bilateral trade during the 2016-17 fiscal was $12.89 billion. India imported Dollars 10.5 billion worth of goods, mainly crude oil, and exported commodities worth USD 2.4 billion.

As for the allegation that the MEA has shifted to Prime Minister's Office, Sushma Swaraj asked: "How am I answering all your questions if I do not know about the foreign policy as I only look after the Twitter handle?" Indian interests in the Iran nuclear deal revolve around possible U.S. sanctions that would once again slow down the development of the Chabahar port.

The port is being touted as a way for India to establish trade routes that bypass rival Pakistan.

"The Indians told us that they won't support unilateral sanctions against Iran and affirmed that India's government resolutely backs the nuclear agreement", said Gholamreza Ansari, Iranian Deputy Foreign minister for Economic Diplomacy, on Tuesday.

Like this: