US-Iran conflict : Tehran cautions India, New Delhi yet to decide

New Delhi, July 12: India has found itself in the middle of the US-Iran conflict over its dependence on Iranian oil on one side and safeguarding its relationship with United States.India is yet to take a call on complying with the US sanctions on Iran.

But Iran’s Deputy Ambassador and Charge d’Affaires Massoud Rezvanian Rahaghi has cautioned India over losing “special privileges” if it cuts import of Iranian oil following US sanctions but asserted that Tehran will do its best to ensure security of oil supply to New Delhi.

The clarification by Iranian Embassy came a day after  Rahaghi cautioned New Delhi that it will stand to lose “special privileges” if it cuts import of Iranian oil following US sanctions.

The embassy said Iran will do its best to ensure security of oil supply to India by offering various flexible measures which facilitate bilateral trade, particularly Indian exports to Iran.

Rahaghi had also criticised India for not fulfilling its promise of making investments in the expansion of the strategically located Chabahar port

US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley categorically stated that India should cut its dependence on Iran if it wants to avoid sanctions . Since the US has unilaterally withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal in May,the Trump administration has told India and other countries to cut oil imports from the Gulf nation to “zero” by November 4 or face sanctions and economic sanctions  would impact all countries in business with the oil-rich state.

With an unstable energy market, Iran said it is for India to choose its energy partners, taking into account various factors like geopolitical considerations and reliability of the oil suppliers.

In an address at a seminar yesterday, Rahaghi said Iran will end the privileges being provided to India if it tries to source oil from countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq, the US and others to offset cuts in Iranian oil import.

“Iran has always been a reliable energy partner for India and others, seeking a balanced oil market and rational prices of oil which ensure the interests of both countries as consumer and supplier,” the embassy said in a statement.

On Chabahar, the embassy said Iran has always welcomed Indian initiatives in the project.”However, due to the importance of the issue, Iran has frequently emphasised on expediting Indian investment, and pushing Indian partner companies to accelerate their engagement in execution of the projects,” it said.

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