An international relations professor says New Delhi has good ties with Tehran based on shared trade and security interests, making it difficult for India to join the US-led sanctions against Iran.
“India and Iran are not divided by any major clash of interests today or in the foreseeable future,” wrote Ramesh Thakur, an Australian National University professor, on The Japan Timeswebsite.
“Iran supplies about 12 percent of India’s oil imports. Delhi has also had a long-standing interest in building a gas pipeline from Iran to India,” he added. Referring to New Delhi’s refusal to follow the US-led sanctions on the Islamic Republic, Thakur said “Writing in The Diplomaton February 20, R. Nicholas Burns, undersecretary of state in the Bush administration, lamented the fact that India was going to continue to purchase oil from Iran.”
The expert believes the US official was “reacting to reports that to circumvent Western sanctions on Iran’s central bank, Delhi was negotiating barter deals (Iranian oil for Indian goods) and/or payment in rupees.”
“In failing to join in the European Union (EU) and US sanctions, Burns believes, India has let America down.”, Thakur said.
The US and the EU have imposed financial and oil sanctions against Iran since the beginning of 2012, claiming that the country’s nuclear energy program includes a military component.
Tehran refutes such allegations, saying frequent inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency have failed to prove any diversion in Iran’s nuclear energy program toward military purposes.
On March 23, US State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said Washington is urging several countries, including India, to “significantly reduce” their dependence on the Iranian oil to avoid the American sanctions.
Despite frequent requests from Washington, the Indian government has so far refused to reduce oil imports from Iran and has even come up with a new mechanism for paying the oil price without being affected by US sanctions on Iranian banks.