De­ci­sion on pur­chas­ing oil from Iran af­ter polls: In­dia

Swaraj re­it­er­ates ‘com­mer­cial con­sid­er­a­tions, en­ergy se­cu­rity’

Hindustan Times (Patiala) - - Nation - Rezaul H Laskar

NEWDELHI:Ex­ter­nal af­fairs min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj in­formed her Ira­nian coun­ter­part Javad Zarif on Tues­day that a de­ci­sion on pur­chas­ing Ira­nian oil in the face of US sanc­tions will be made af­ter the con­clu­sion of In­dia’s gen­eral elec­tion, peo­ple fa­mil­iar with de­vel­op­ments said.

Ira­nian oil ex­ports and Tehran’s ap­proach to re­cent de­vel­op­ments in the re­gion, in­clud­ing ten­sions be­tween Iran and the US over the Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Ac­tion (JCPOA), or the Ira­nian nu­clear deal, fig­ured in the dis­cus­sions be­tween Zarif and Swaraj.

Zarif ar­rived in New Delhi late on Mon­day for a pre­vi­ously un­sched­uled visit to lobby for In­dia’s sup­port against the back­drop of the Iran-US ten­sions. He last vis­ited In­dia in Jan­uary, and the cur­rent trip was or­gan­ised at short no­tice at Zarif’s re­quest, the peo­ple cited above said.

When Zarif raised the pur­chase of oil from Iran, Swaraj re­it­er­ated In­dia’s po­si­tion that a de­ci­sion will be made af­ter the gen­eral elec­tions while keep­ing in mind the coun­try’s “com­mer­cial con­sid­er­a­tions, en­ergy se­cu­rity and eco­nomic in­ter­ests”, the peo­ple said.

The US de­ci­sion to end ex­emp­tions to sanc­tions on Ira­nian oil im­ports on May 2 has hit In­dia. Tehran was among New Delhi’s top three en­ergy sup­pli­ers, pro­vid­ing 23.6 mil­lion tonnes of oil last year, or about 10% of the coun­try’s en­ergy needs.

The sanc­tions were im­posed af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump uni­lat­er­ally with­drew the US from the 2015 nu­clear deal be­tween Iran and world pow­ers.

Zarif briefed the In­dian side on Iran’s ap­proach to de­vel­op­ments in the re­gion, in­clud­ing on JCPOA, and also re­viewed bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion.

The outreach to In­dia, he ex­plained, was part of Iran’s con­sul­ta­tions with key coun­tries, in­clud­ing Rus­sia, China, Turk­menistan and Iraq, over the past few days. The im­pact of the sanc­tions on Ira­nian oil ex­ports, the coun­try’s main rev­enue earner, prompted Tehran to threaten last week that it would roll back its com­pli­ance with the nu­clear deal. Zarif re­ferred to Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani’s an­nounce­ment on May 8 about Iran keep­ing larger amounts of en­riched ura­nium and heavy wa­ter, in­stead of ex­port­ing the ex­cess as re­quired un­der the JCPOA.

He also men­tioned the 60-day time­line given to the EU3 (France, Ger­many, the UK) and other par­ties to the JCPOA (China and Rus­sia) for restor­ing oil ex­ports and bank­ing chan­nels. The In­dian side, the peo­ple said, re­it­er­ated its po­si­tion that New Delhi would like all par­ties to the JCPOA to con­tinue to ful­fil their com­mit­ments and en­gage con­struc­tively and re­solve is­sues peace­fully through di­a­logue.


Ex­ter­nal af­fairs min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj with Ira­nian foreign in­is­ter Mo­ham­mad Javad Zarif in New Delhi on Tues­day.

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