Ties with Maldives 'not broken, can not be broken': Swaraj

Geneva Stokes
May 31, 2018

India will not accept sanctions imposed, or to be imposed, by the United States on Iran, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Monday.

Addressing annual press conference on completion of four years of the government, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, there is no change in this stand of government of India.

Iran's foreign minister has said the details concerning the implementation of European Union proposals for keeping Tehran committed to Iran's nuclear deal with world powers (JCPOA) are not yet clear.

However, officials said the United States decision to reinstate financial sanctions on Iran would not impact India's oil imports as long as European countries did not follow suit.

The US Treasury designated three Iranian entities and six individuals on Wednesday for committing human rights abuses and censorship, in what is the sixth round of sanctions since President Donald Trump left the nuclear deal on May 8.

Under Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, India was forced between 2012 and 2015 to significantly slash Iranian oil imports and pay Iran in rupees or initiate barter trade.

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Lukoil's cautious stance follows an announcement by French energy giant Total earlier this month that it will abandon a major gas project in Iran unless it gets a US sanctions waiver.

"A major part of the oil is sold to India and China", Nobakht said.

Iran's efforts and the warm reception it is receiving from many nations has roiled leaders on Capitol Hill, where some lawmakers are already moving to confront these countries and ensure they face harsh repercussions for any breach of US sanction law. There are indications that India would continue doing business with Iran unless the sanctions imposed by the USA are endorsed by the United Nations.

During the visit, India and Iran signed almost a dozen pacts, centrepiece of which was an agreement on development of Chabahar port. Trade is one reason, given the robust market India provides for Iranian oil. India should partner other key democracies to push back with full diplomatic strength, including, if necessary, hauling the USA into the WTO dispute-resolution body and introducing a UN General Assembly resolution against unlawful extraterritorial sanctions. While India may not be huge fans of Iran, they're extremely antagonistic towards Pakistan and that works out to be a win for them.

Swaraj also said India would continue trading with Venezuela, but there was no plan to use its local cryptocurrency in oil trade.

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