India follows UN sanctions, not US sanctions on Iran, says Sushma Swaraj
India abides by sanctions imposed by the United Nations and not those imposed by any other country, such as ones announced by the United States against Iran, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Monday. The minister’s remarks at her annual press conference came hours before a meeting with visiting Iran foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Iran is the third largest source of India’s oil imports. New Delhi is making strategic investments in the Chabahar port in Iran that connects Afghanistan to Central Asia bypassing Pakistan.
Swaraj said India’s decision on ties with Iran or its position on sanctions is independent of any other country.
“India follows only UN sanctions, and not unilateral sanctions by any country,” Swaraj said, after being asked about India’s response to the US decision to impose sanctions against Iran.
US President Donald Trump this month exited from the Iran nuclear deal and sought the reimposition of economic sanctions against Tehran that were suspended under a 2015 agreement.
“The external affairs minister conveyed that all parties to the agreement should engage constructively for peaceful resolution of the issues that have arisen with respect to the agreement,” a statement from the ministry said after Swaraj met Zarif.
Zarif, who had been to Moscow, Beijing and Brussels, arrived in India Sunday night. Zarif briefed Swaraj about the 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 the release by the ministry’s press release.
“The two sides positively assessed the implementation of decisions taken during the visit of President Rouhani to India. These included bilateral cooperation in the areas of connectivity, energy, trade and promotion of people to people contacts”, the release said.
At her press confreence, Swaraj also said clarified that India had no plans to use Venezuela’s local cryptocurrency ‘petro’ in paying for oil imported from the Latin American nation, which too is facing US sanctions. Swaraj cited an order by the Reserve Bank of India saying it did not allow trade using cryptocurrency.
Venezuela, whose oil output is falling under pressure from US sanctions, is offering a discount on oil sales paid for by using the ‘petro’.