India to ignore US sanctions on Iran, Venezuela, says FM

Published May 29, 2018
New Delhi: Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj (right) greets her Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif before their meeting.—AP
New Delhi: Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj (right) greets her Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif before their meeting.—AP

NEW DELHI: India will keep trading with Iran and Venezuela despite the threat of fallout from US sanctions against the two countries, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Monday.

Swaraj, asked at a news conference whether US action against Iran and Venezuela would damage India, said the country would not make foreign policy “under pressure”.

US President Donald Trump this month withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and ordered the reimposition of sanctions suspended under the 2015 accord.

Washington has also tightened sanctions against Venezuela over the controversial re-election of President Nicolas Maduro.

Both countries are key oil suppliers to India and the United States has warned that foreign companies which deal with Iran could themselves be punished.

But Swaraj said New Delhi did not believe in “reactionary” policies and would not be dictated to by other countries.

“We don’t make our foreign policy under pressure from other countries,” she told a news conference. “We believe in UN sanctions but not in country-specific sanctions.”

Swaraj’s comments came just before a meeting with her Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in New Delhi.

Bilateral trade between India and Iran amounted to $12.9 billion in 2016-17. India imported $10.5 billion worth of goods, mainly crude oil, and exported commodities worth $2.4 billion.

India has other interests in Iran, in particular a commitment to build the port of Chabahar on the Gulf of Oman.

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

Media reports have speculated India could revive a rupee-rial payment arrangement with Iran to shield exporters from the heat of US sanctions.

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

“We cannot have any trade in cryptocurrency as it is banned by the Reserve Bank of India. We will see which medium we can use for trade,” she said.“India follows only U.N. sanctions, and not unilateral sanctions by any country,” she said at a news conference.

India and Iran have long-standing political and economic ties, with Iran one of India’s top oil suppliers.“Zarif briefed about the discussions that Iran has undertaken with parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action following the US decision to withdraw from the Agreement,” said an Indian government statement, without elaborating.

India continued trade with Iran during previous sanctions but had to cut oil imports as the sanctions choked off banking channels and insurance cover for tankers.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2018

Opinion

The curse of irrelevance
24 Jul 2021

The curse of irrelevance

Fear, in essence, is a powerful de-motivator for those who believe their success lies in lazy public validation...
Good & bad Muslims
Updated 24 Jul 2021

Good & bad Muslims

It is essential to interrogate the wider epidemic of violence.
The Afghan stalemate
Updated 21 Jul 2021

The Afghan stalemate

The Taliban cannot think of ruling Afghanistan without international legitimacy.

Editorial

Cyberattack on rights
Updated 24 Jul 2021

Cyberattack on rights

A COLLABORATIVE investigation into a data leak of software sold by the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group has ...
24 Jul 2021

Sleeper cells

THERE was a time not too long ago when militant groups had unleashed a reign of terror in Pakistan, resulting in...
24 Jul 2021

Prisoners’ return

THE families of 62 Pakistani prisoners who had been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia had reason to rejoice this Eid as...
India’s admission
Updated 21 Jul 2021

India’s admission

It was no secret that India had been manoeuvring behind the scenes to ensure that Pakistan remained on the grey list.
EU headscarf ban
Updated 23 Jul 2021

EU headscarf ban

Moves by the EU to curtail the religious freedoms of Muslims and others in the bloc need to be reviewed.
Disposal of offal
Updated 22 Jul 2021

Disposal of offal

The least people can do is to make an effort and dump entrails in designated areas.