India tells Iran it will defend the nuclear deal in face of US sanctions

However, it remains to be seen if the Modi government, which has already asked its oil companies to cut down on Iranian crude imports, would walk the talk on its commitment to Iran.

IRNA
IRNA
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NH Web Desk

Iran’s deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi has said that India was in favour of continuing trade relations with Iran and backed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (US, China, Russia, UK and France) and Germany.

“There is no doubt that all countries cooperating with Iran are determined to save the deal, and stress to find ways to secure Iran's benefits within the deal's framework; the fact that shows the US isolation,” Araqchi told Iran’s state-backed Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on Monday. The comments by the Iranian minister came after he held consultations with India’s foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale in New Delhi, as part of fifteenth round of India-Iran consultations. According to the report, Araqchi also held consultations with Minister of State (MoS) External Affairs MJ Akbar on the same day.

“India is one of the biggest customers of Iran's crude; therefore, its needs and Iran's demand are in favour of the two countries' oil trade continuation,” he said, also noting that “US sanctions have caused problems for the trade.”

Negotiated during the presidency of previous US President Barack Obama, the incumbent US leader, Donald Trump, in May this year withdrew from the accord, terming it the “worst deal ever.” Trump, an ally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has asked India to completely wind down on Iranian crude imports by November 4. India is among the top three importers of Iranian crude, but is reportedly said to be buckling under US’ pressure. The latest round of US’ sanctions on Iran come into effect on August 6.

A separate press statement issued by India’s Ministry of External Affairs on Monday cautiously noted that the talks between the two sides focussed on ironing out issues that have arisen from the pulling out of the JCPOA by the US. “It was agreed to maintain the momentum of mutually beneficial multifaceted bilateral cooperation and exchanges between the two sides and to hold the next round of Joint Commission Meeting at the level of External Affairs Minister in November 2018 in Iran,” said the MEA

In the wake of US’ representative to the UN Nikki Haley’s visit to India earlier this month and her appeal that India should reconsider its relations with Iran, Tehran has been warning that any repercussion on its energy trade caused by US’ sanctions could result in the security of the entire Strait of Hormuz being threatened.

Earlier this month, Iran’s deputy ambassador to India, Massoud Rezvanian Rahaghi, warned New Delhi that if it didn’t continue making investments in the Chabahar Port project in the face of US sanctions, it would stand to lose some “special privileges” accorded to it by Tehran.

Saying that the Chabahar port project also came up during his discussions with Gokhale, Abbas Araqchi reportedly said, “There is no major problem on the projects, and the only obstacles are caused by a third party, the US.”

A separate press statement issued by India’s Ministry of External Affairs on Monday cautiously noted that the talks between the two sides focussed on ironing out issues that have arisen from the pulling out of the JCPOA by the US.

“It was agreed to maintain the momentum of mutually beneficial multifaceted bilateral cooperation and exchanges between the two sides and to hold the next round of Joint Commission Meeting at the level of External Affairs Minister in November 2018 in Iran,” said the MEA.

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Published: 17 Jul 2018, 3:00 PM