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India categorically rejects Iran oil sanctions

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has set at rest firmly and authoritatively all speculative reports that India might buckle under American pressure and fall in line passively with the spirit of the United States’ sanctions against Iran by quietly cutting back its oil imports from Iran. That FM made the categorical statement while on a visit to the US is of added significance. 

Earlier, ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao created some confusion by claiming India was cutting down its oil purchases from Iran as a considered decision. Rao was speaking after American politicians and commentators began making threatening noises as part of a psywar. According to media reports, she vaguely hinted that India was acting in tandem with Washington. 
Of course, Mukherjee’s statement has hit the headlines, as it follows similar indications from China. With China and India defying the US’ sanctions regime, Japan and South Korea and other south-east Asian countries would follow suit. Tehran Times has reported that Delhi is actively exploring various options to work out a payment mechanism for India’s oil imports from Iran and is “trying to buy as much Iranian oil as possible.”
The Beijing daily Global Times featured an editorial today calling on China to coordinate with south and southeast Asian countries and “try its best to form a temporary alliance with them in continuing to buy oil from Iran. Such an alliance is possible, as seen from the hesitation of countries like Japan and India in sanctioning Iran.” The editorial anticipated that at some point Washington might even offer to Beijing some trade-off but China won’t cave in as Iran is far too important a relationship to compromise.  
The GT editorial carries forward the train of thought that the paper fleshed out in an earlier article a fortnight ago when it inter alia called for coordinating with Russia – “the two should support each other in this [Iran] matter.” 
India and China would also factor in that the European Union sanctions against Iran might not prove sustainable in any case. The panic in the European capitals was obvious when Iran threatened retaliation. Within hours, back channels were apparently activated to prevail upon Tehran not to go ahead with its own embargo on oil exports to Europe this week (six months before the EU sanctions will come into effect). It seems Tehran has obliged the European entreaties but its threat of retaliation hangs like the sword of Damocles on the European economies. 
Clearly, the assumption that Iran will be brought to its knees through oil sanctions is flawed. Iran has successfully withstood 30 years of US sanctions. It is also wrong to caricature Iran as a chronic case of the so-called Dutch syndrome. Iran has a diverse economy, its human resources are very substantial and it can progress even with reduced oil income
That is to say, all this drama is actually geopolitical. Evidently, Iran is keen not to exacerbate the tensions. The latest indications are that Tehran is constructively engaging the IAEA inspectors although holding fast to its principled position on the nuclear issue, namely, that it has every right to pursue a nuclear programme as stipulated under the NPT. 
All things taken into account, therefore,  Delhi has done exceedingly well by taking such a clear-cut stance on the entire question and its ramifications

Posted in Diplomacy, Politics.

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14 Responses

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  1. Venkat says

    Additional factors behind UPA governments’ recent change of heart is to prevent inflation which is already running high. The prospect of a high oil prices, in the near term can wreck all state elections and possibly even the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Again domestic politics triumphs.

  2. Venkat says

    It is a good move. But exactly what prompted New Delhi to reverse this course is unclear. The UPA government has been vacillating on Iran Issue for long.

    We would normally expect a government to take decisions keeping in mind long terms interests.

    The NDA government maintained the right position throughout its rule that Iran is a friend, while at the same time developing relations with Israel.
    The UPA government has allegedly been known to take decisions keeping in mind domestic politics, with scant regard for long term security and development. One might possibly conclude that the Shia Voters in UP elections are behind this recent “nuanced” position. .

  3. Johan says

    This is the true independent India that I have always known, from Pandit Nehru times.

  4. a z says

    Does this mean India is back on the ‘wrong side of History’?

  5. my_globe says

    I very much feel the same as what aftab, subhash, Krishna, Abdullah, Santhakumar, and Syed Askari Naqvi has commented here.

    It’s so moronic on part of USA to first cornering some nation by putting sanctions and then forcibly getting other nations to support by threatening them in name of friendship.

    Never take USA seriously as friend. The moment their tail is twisted and they come out in their real colors.. moronic, villainous and what not.

    For all these years they have been blowing the bugle of globalisation.. and now when India and China are benefiting from outsourcing from amerika, they have different bugle to blow and that is to put some sort of restrictions on companies who are either recruiting foreign experts or sending out BPO and IT jobs. This reveals the side of USA that is so dual faced, so hypocrite.

  6. Arnab Bhattacharya says

    I want to recollect the famous saying from King Khan: – “Whoever perform better against British is sure to be sledged or reported against”. It may not be the actual quote but the brief theme is that neither the British nor their partners USA can withstand development of any ASIAN countries upto their level. Hence we should maintain our own stance against this oil embargo and focus on our own interest rathen than those of US. After all knowing everything US is supporting Pakistan then why should we not support IRAN since we share a cordial relation.

  7. Sachin Nair says

    Excellent stand! I am loving some of the decision making coming from top quarters in Delhi. Indo Iran ties go back thousands of years.
    But I am sure we will have a tough time managing the Saudi’s and of course the Americans. The Saudi’s have vehemently opposed Iran and dislike Iran’s power games in MENA region.
    US-Saudi share a deep relationship. All Sheikhs have invested deeply in US and European bonds. The protection of Saudi and GCC is guarenteed by US govt. Saudi returned the favour by buying $ 60 billion worth of arms from US.
    Middle East is a strange region with complex intra country relationships. India needs to carefully manage both Saudi and Iran- 2 super powers there. Saudi provides employment to lakhs of Indians and also Oil to us. It would be a delicate and difficult act to manage these international relationships.
    As for the Iran stance- I just love the decision of Indian government

  8. aftab says

    India is asserting its position and this is agood sign. If developed countries are doing what they find in their interest, India should not become their rubber stamp. I am happy that our country is taking neutral view and doing what it considers best in our interest

  9. subhash bhatnagar says

    Dear Sirs
    I think this is the first time India has asserted powerfuly against America keeping national and regional interest uppermost. Result is to see now cracking up of Europeon countries This should be considered by American establishment as warning that do not be world police always.

  10. Krishna Bhat says

    This is what is called diplomacy. In it, national interests are paramount. With the US supporting Pakistan, there is no reason why we cannot mend our relations with Iran.

  11. Abdullah Saikh says

    Why should we follow USA??Iran is our 1000 years old friend,Iran giving us fuel since 60-70 years .
    Sanction against USA monitery,Fuel all sanction against USA,France,Australia

  12. delamourd says

    Now the solution is clear :
    Since the westerners have lost the WordWar stance, and hence lost the dogma of a sanctuarized Israel’s , it is just evident that the liquidation of Israel ( meaning the Relocalization of 7 Millions of Fanatic Jews back in Europe where they have been chased from by Hitler) is emerging as a futuristic non-negotiable option.
    Why the westerners should balance the interests of 350 300 Millions of them to prevail the cause of 7 Millions Fanatic Jews “escaped” from Europe in a mystic move after 1945 ??
    The Non-Rationale post-WW2 is finished and the Liquidation of Israel should start as soon as possible.
    This will also give room for disintegration of stock piled Mass Destruction Weapons (MDW) accumulated by the Roguest Westerners, who moreover believe they can teach lessons to others.

  13. Santhakumar says

    well done. this is the first time India stood up and voiced its views firmly in any international matter.

  14. Syed Askari Naqvi says

    Beautiful Article. After all why should we endure the hegemony of US. We should forget that during the 1971 war with pakistan it was US who supported pakistan and send its naval fleet to confront India. We should never buckle under pressure from the US as we have our own foriegn policy and we are sane enough to decide our friends and foes.

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