US sanctions against Iran and Venezuela not to impact India’s oil imports: Sushma Swaraj

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New Delhi | May 28, 2018 9:24 PM

Venezuela is also one of the major suppliers of oil to India. Swaraj also ruled out using cryptocurrency in oil trade with Venezuela saying the Reserve Bank of India had banned it.

US, US sanctions, Iran, Venezuela, india oil import, sushma swarajIndia today said it will continue trading with Iran and Venezuela despite US sanctions against the two countries, asserting that it only recognises UN restrictions. (Reuters)

India today said it will continue trading with Iran and Venezuela despite US sanctions against the two countries, asserting that it only recognises UN restrictions. “We only recognise UN sanctions. We do not recognise any country-specific sanctions,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said at a press conference. She made the remarks while responding to a question on whether US sanctions against Iran and Venezuela will hit India’s oil imports from the two countries. The external affairs minister also said that India does not make foreign policy under any pressure from any country.

“We don’t make our foreign policy under pressure from other countries,” she said. Earlier this month, the US had pulled out from the landmark Iran nuclear deal of 2015 under which Tehran had agreed to stop its sensitive nuclear activities in return for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions. Announcing the decision, President Donald Trump had reimposed sanctions against Iran which were suspended after the nuclear deal was finalised three years back. The US had also announced tightening sanctions against Venezuela following re-election of President Nicolas Maduro. Iran is India’s third largest oil supplier.

Venezuela is also one of the major suppliers of oil to India. Swaraj also ruled out using cryptocurrency in oil trade with Venezuela saying the Reserve Bank of India had banned it. Her comments came hours before a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who is here to seek India’s support to salvage the nuclear deal. There were apprehensions about possible impact of the US decision on India’s oil import. However, officials said the US decision to reinstate financial sanctions on Iran would not impact India’s oil imports as long as European countries did not follow suit.

China, Russia and several European nations have been trying to salvage the deal. Iran had struck the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) with the US, the UK, Russia, China, France and Germany after years of negotiations. In its reaction to Trump’s decision, India had said all the parties concerned should engage constructively to resolve the issue peacefully and that Iran’s right to peaceful use of nuclear energy must be ensured. According to the External Affairs Ministry, India-Iran bilateral trade during the 2016-17 fiscal was USD 12.89 billion. India imported USD 10.5 billion worth of goods, mainly crude oil, and exported commodities worth USD 2.4 billion.

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