Iran Plotting With U.S. Allies to Skirt Trump’s New Sanctions

Minnie Murray
May 30, 2018

Minister Swaraj's brutally frank comments suggest that Trump just lost India on Iran policy, and it is not impossible that his tough tariff and other policies could push this huge potential ally away.

Trump's decision to scuttle the Iran deal did not only put India's economic (oil) interests in trouble but also its strategic interests.

On Capitol Hill, opponents of the nuclear accord are working on parallel efforts to ensure that any foreign nation caught skirting new US sanctions on Iran faces harsh repercussions, including massive economic penalties and a possible cutoff from the USA financial system.

"FM Zarif briefed about the discussions that Iran has undertaken with parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) following the USA decision to withdraw from the agreement", the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement. "We are also in talks with Europe to continue oil sales to them, and Iran's increased oil sales to them has even been under discussion with them to compensate any drop if some states decrease oil imports".

Trump also said he would reinstate United States nuclear sanctions on Iran suspended under the nuclear accord and impose "the highest level" of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.

India, however, has made it clear that it has not abided by the United States sanctions on Iran or Venezuela in the past, neither will it this time.

"We believe in United Nations sanctions, but not in country-specific sanctions", she said.

India does $115 bn in annual trade with the USA, but that with Iran is $13 bn a year. Tehran is one of New Delhi's top oil suppliers.

Members of the visiting high-powered US Congress delegation also indicated that their country's proposed sale of armed drones like MQ-9 Reaper or Predator-B and other high-tech equipment to India could be impacted if the S-400 deal was inked. To continue with this quest, he has backed an "all of the above" energy strategy much like that of former U.S. president Barack Obama.

Iran's president is also set to attend a summit with his Chinese and Russian counterparts next month, reported officials in Beijing on Monday.

"A major part of the oil is sold to India and China", Nobakht said.

The port is being touted as a way for India to establish trade routes that bypass rival Pakistan. And, India wants a good relationship with Iran as a way of offsetting its hard relationship with Pakistan.

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