Jul 4, 2018, 1:55 PM
News Code: 82961648
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Expert: India will not honour US sanctions on Iran

New Delhi, July 4, IRNA - A senior expert on the Indian strategic affairs stressed that New Delhi, due to its independent policies, will not honour the US’ unilateral sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Ashok Dhar who is the Director of the Kolkata branch of one of India’s most important think tanks Observer Research Foundation (ORF) made the remarks while talking to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

During the interview, he commented on the US demand from its allies including India to stop importing oil from Iran.

He said, “It is understood that Washington has been asking oil importing countries to stop imports of crude oil from Iran by November 4th. Hitherto, India has largely not abided by unilateral sanctions imposed by any major power. As a sovereign nation, India has honoured such sanctions only if imposed by UN Security council resolutions.”

“One can expect the Indian government to follow the time-tested approach and talk to all stakeholders with sensitivity that it deserves considering that India is not endowed with sufficient reserves of crude oil and has to import almost 80% of its requirement. Iran is the 3rd largest supplier of crude oil to India, after Iraq and Saudi Arabia,” he added.

Expressing hope that India will finally find a way to avoid the US sanctions on Iran and continue its oil trade with the Islamic Republic, the distinguished analyst of the world affairs said, “India has deep and long-standing relations with the exporters of crude oil in the Middle-East region, including Iran. Hopefully, some via media may be found, as is in past, to continue oil imports from Iran.”

On the possible impact of the US sanctions on Iran on India’s partnership in development of the Iranian port of Chabahar, he said, 'Chabahar port can not only provide access for India to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan, it can also provide access to all other players who want to develop an alternate route to Afghanistan, including US.”

He continued, “It is an important project for connectivity with long term objectives for building a north-south international transport corridor. Since the project may largely be funded by Indian rupees, one could assume it to be outside the scope of such unilateral sanctions.”

Terming the possible Impact of the US anti-Iran sanctions on India’s projects in Afghanistan as temporary, Dhar said, “There could be some temporary impact due to uncertainty on how India will calibrate and navigate an appropriate strategic response but India will hopefully remain steadfast in its long-term intent and resolve to boost ties with Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia.”

Suggesting use of the Indian Rupee in India’s investments in Iran as a way to neutralize the impact of the US sanction on Iran-India trade, the distinguished manager of the international trading said, “We need to find ways to maximize investments in Iran in Indian Rupees, same way as we trade with Nepal or Bhutan in INR or through barter trade.”

“It remains to be seen as to how the EU three - France, Germany and UK - and China respond to declaration of unilateral sanctions by US and if trade in Euro becomes an option,” added Dhar who is a Chemical engineer by training and a member of the Energy Institute, London and the Refinery Forum of Petroleum Federation of India.

On the possible methods to minimize the US hegemony over the international banking system, he said, “World looked at the USA as a nation that helped set 'rules-based international order'. Walking away from the Iranian nuclear agreement and its after impact creates urgent need for rebalancing the earlier balance. Global discourse is necessary as to how the new world would handle such unilateral sanctions by a major power. Developing and underdeveloped countries are most vulnerable to such externalities.”