US to keep talk­ing to In­dia, oth­ers on Iran oil sanc­tions

Diplo­matic Mis­sion in In­dia and Iran (Dec 7, 2013)

Business Sphere - - Iran's Nuclear | Deal: What's in it for India? - By Our Cor­re­spon­dent

Notwith­stand­ing dif­fi­cul­ties faced by coun­tries like In­dia in re­duc­ing oil pur­chases from Iran, the US has said it will keep talk­ing to them to en­force sanc­tions de­spite the land­mark nu­clear deal with the Is­lamic state. “We’ve been very clear that as we ne­go­ti­ated the first­step agree­ment and as we ne­go­ti­ate the fi­nal agree­ment...the core ar­chi­tec­ture of Iran’s oil and bank­ing sec­tor sanc­tions re­main in place,” US State Depart­ment spokesper­son Marie Harf told re­porters. “We have done a lot of diplo­matic hard work - very hard diplo­matic, tire­less work, with coun­tries like In­dia, Ja­pan, South Korea, oth­ers, to put in place these sanc­tions on Iran’s oil,” Harf said. “We know it’s not easy for these coun­tries, but we all have done it be­cause it’s in the world’s in­ter­est to put pres­sure on Iran to get them to a diplo­matic so­lu­tion to their nu­clear pro­gramme.” Harf said the US is “go­ing to keep talk­ing to these coun­tries” about en­forc­ing the sanc­tions. A land­mark deal was reached in Geneva on Novem­ber 24 be­tween Iran and the P5+1 group -- Bri­tain, China, France, Rus­sia and the United States plus Ger­many -- on Tehran’s dis­puted nu­clear pro­gramme that the West sus­pects has mil­i­tary di­men­sions. Iran ve­he­mently re­jects the charge. The six-month Geneva agree­ment freezes Iran’s nu­clear drive in ex­change of some sanc­tions be­ing lifted as a fi­nal so­lu­tion is worked out. Harf said, “We are go­ing to keep en­forc­ing a ma­jor­ity of the sanc­tions and we’ll keep hav­ing these con­ver­sa­tions. We ...would ac­tively fight any at­tempts to use this first­step agree­ment as a way for people to some­how try to evade sanc­tions in any way.” The US shares Is­rael’s con­cerns and that is why it be­lieves it is im­por­tant to get a diplo­matic res­o­lu­tion to this prob­lem, she said.

Iran and Gulf states make ten­ta­tive diplo­matic moves

United Arab Emi­rates For­eign

Min­is­ter Sheikh Ab­dul­lah bin Zayed on a rare visit to Iran on Thurs­day called for a part­ner­ship with Iran, but sus­pi­cion re­mains de­spite Tehran’s ten­ta­tive over­tures to­wards its Gulf neigh­bours. Mostly Sunni Mus­lim Gulf Arab states are wary of Ira­nian in­flu­ence in the Mid­dle East, fear­ing the Shi’iteled coun­try is seek­ing re­gional dom­i­nance and stir­ring sec­tar­ian ten­sions. Im­prov­ing re­la­tions with re­gional coun­tries is a cen­tral plank of Iran’s diplo­matic pol­icy un­der its new pres­i­dent, Has­san Rouhani and For­eign Min­is­ter Mo­hammed Javad Zarif, who will visit Kuwait and Oman next week. “We are neigh­bours but do not con­fine our­selves to this and are call­ing to be part­ners,” Sheikh Ab­dul­lah was quoted as say­ing by Iran’s of­fi­cial IRNA news agency. Zarif, speak­ing af­ter the meet­ing with Sheikh Ab­dul­lah, who also met Pres­i­dent Rouhani, said peace would ben­e­fit ev­ery­body in the re­gion. “We see the progress of coun­tries in the re­gion as a suc­cess and any type of dan­ger as a threat to them. Se­cu­rity and de­vel­op­ment can­not be sep­a­rated and we see re­la­tions with re­gional coun­tries as tak­ing this form,” IRNA quoted him as say­ing. They made no men­tion of a long­stand­ing dis­pute be­tween the two coun­tries over the own­er­ship of a small group of Gulf is­lands, or of ac­cu­sa­tions by the Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil, to which the UAE be­longs, that Tehran has plot­ted at­tacks in Bahrain. The GCC con­sists of Saudi Ara­bia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the UAE and Oman. Zarif was quoted on Wed­nes­day by Kuwait’s state news agency as say­ing he would visit Kuwait and Oman next week. He added he also planned to visit Saudi Ara­bia but had not yet set a date. On Tues­day, Iran’s for­mer pres­i­dent, Ak­bar Hashemi Raf­san­jani, said he wanted bet­ter re­la­tions with Saudi Ara­bia in an in­ter­view with the Fi­nan­cial Times. Rouhani and Zarif have stressed greater re­gional sta­bil­ity as a pri­or­ity, ar­guably an at­tempt to blunt the op­po­si­tion of Gulf coun­tries, par­tic­u­larly Saudi Ara­bia, to Tehran’s newly minted nu­clear deal with world pow­ers. SYRIA Af­ter they met in Kuwait on Wed­nes­day, GCC for­eign min­is­ters said they hoped the deal would lead to a com­pre­hen­sive so­lu­tion to Iran’s nu­clear cri­sis, but that this would re­quire good­will. On Thurs­day Bahrain’s In­te­rior Min­is­ter Sheikh Rashed bin Ab­dul­lah al-Khal­ifa said Iran’s Arab neigh­bours needed as­sur­ances that the nu­clear deal would en­hance re­gional se­cu­rity. Al­lud­ing to pre­vi­ous ac­cu­sa­tions Iran was be­hind a pop­u­lar up­ris­ing in Bahrain, he said and that Gulf Arab states wanted to be cer­tain the ac­cord “would not be at the ex­pense of the se­cu­rity of any of the (Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion) Coun­cil”. Sun­day’s six-month in­terim deal in­volves some re­versible sanc­tions re­lief in re­turn for more in­ter­na­tional over­sight of Iran’s nu­clear pro­gramme. Saudi Ara­bia, the largest and most pow­er­ful of the GCC states, gave a guarded wel­come to the deal, but it still views Tehran with sus­pi­cion. U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama made a phone call to Saudi King Ab­dul­lah to re­as­sure him about the deal. Diplo­matic sources in the Gulf say Riyadh fears the agree­ment will take pres­sure off Iran and al­low it scope to op­er­ate in other Arab coun­tries. Saudi Ara­bia and Iran are locked in a tus­sle for in­flu­ence across the Arab world, back­ing op­pos­ing forces in po­lit­i­cal strug­gles in Le­banon, Iraq,

Bahrain and Ye­men. They also sup­port op­pos­ing sides in Syria’s civil war, pit­ting Ira­nian ally Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad against mostly Sunni rebels armed and fi­nanced by coun­tries in­clud­ing Saudi Ara­bia and Qatar. On Wed­nes­day the op­po­si­tion Syr­ian Na­tional Coali­tion said it would at­tend peace talks planned for Jan­uary in Geneva. GCC for­eign min­is­ters said the meet­ing must put in place a time­frame for a tran­si­tional govern­ment and should not in­volve any op­po­si­tion group other than the coali­tion.

In­dia to re­solve Iran’s nu­clear is­sue through dia­logues, diplo­macy

Min­istry of Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs (MEA) spokesper­son Syed Ak­barud­din said that In­dia would re­solve mat­ters re­lated to Iran’s nu­clear is­sue through dia­logues and diplo­macy. “As you are aware, the agree­ment that has been signed be­tween Iran and the five plus one, has been signed, and we are in touch with key in­ter­locu­tors to as­cer­tain the ex­act de­tails of that agree­ment,” he said. “How­ever, I can in­form you that In­dia wel­comes the prospect of re­solv­ing mat­ters re­lated to Iran’s nu­clear is­sue through dia­logues and diplo­macy,” he added. Ear­lier in the day, Iran signed an agree­ment with six ma­jor world pow­ers led by United States, Rus­sia, China, France, Bri­tain and Ger­many to curb its nu­clear ac­tiv­i­ties for six months in ex­change for limited re­lief from sanc­tions. The six-month pe­riod is in­tended to give time to the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to work to­wards a com­pre­hen­sive agree­ment. Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, the pack­age in­cludes freez­ing Iran’s abil­ity to en­rich ura­nium at a max­i­mum five per cent level, which is well be­low the thresh­old for weapons-grade ma­te­rial and is aimed at eas­ing Western con­cerns that Tehran could one day seek nu­clear arms.

Iran’s nu­clear deal: what’s in it for In­dia?

Af­ter in­tense ne­go­ti­a­tions and months of back­door diplo­macy, the US was suc­cess­ful in block­ing the way to Iran’s nu­clear am­bi­tions as a his­toric deal be­tween the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the so-called P5+1 group of na­tions - the US, the UK, Rus­sia, China, France and Ger­many - reached an agree­ment with Iran. Ac­cord­ing to the agree­ment, Iran has com­mit­ted to halt ura­nium en­rich­ment be­yond 5 per cent and will give greater ac­cess to in­spec­tors. There won’t be more sanc­tions on Iran for six months and it will re­ceive sanc­tions re­lief worth $7 bil­lion. Hail­ing the agree­ment, US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama said “To­day that diplo­macy opened up a new path to­ward a world that is more se­cure, a fu­ture in which we can ver­ify that Iran’s nu­clear pro­gramme is peace­ful and that it can­not build a nu­clear weapon”. Ind ia has also wel­comed the deal but it isn’t go­ing to help New Delhi in pay­ing Iran for its oil in dol­lars, at least not im­me­di­ately. Sanc­tions af­fect­ing crude oil sales will con­tinue to be im­posed, to keep the pres­sure on. The US will main­tain the vast bulk of its sanc­tions, in­clud­ing fi­nance, and bank­ing sanc­tions ar­chi­tec­ture. Nor is it ex­pected to in­fuse en­ergy into the dor­mant Iran-In­dia pipe­line dream. Syed Ak­barud­din, spokesper­son of the Min­istry of Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs, said “We can see is­sues in terms of the oil and gas pipe­line; we will take it to the later stage be­cause there are is­sues re­lated to that, which are of long­stand­ing na­ture as they deal with commercial and fi­nan­cial as­pects”. Many Ira­ni­ans feel their new pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani has de­liv­ered. Re­plac­ing hard­liner Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad, a mod­er­ate, Rouhani in­sisted the deal recog­nised Iran’s nu­clear rights. It has also been backed by Iran’s Supreme leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei. As ex­pected, Iran’s arch en­emy, Is­rael, has called the deal a his­toric mis­take. Is­rael’s Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu is re­ported to have said his coun­try re­served the right to de­fend it­self. The deal is be­ing seen as a first step.

Iran needs to prove the ‘nu­clear right’ is for peace­ful uses of nu­clear en­ergy, fail­ing which it can face more isolation and pres­sure.

Ira­nian Am­bas­sador Gho­lam­reza An­sari

In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Sing and Iran’s Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad

Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani

Ira­nian Oil Min­is­ter Bi­jan Nam­dar Zan­ganeh (L) meets In­dian Am­bas­sador to Tehran Shri D P Sri­vas­tava

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