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India Must Resist US Pressure, Continue Buying Oil From Iran, Says German Minister

Niels Annen said efforts now need to be made on devising a financial mechanism to overcome the US sanctions. He said the French have made a proposal in this regard.

Maha Siddiqui | CNN-News18

Updated:July 18, 2018, 6:24 PM IST
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India Must Resist US Pressure, Continue Buying Oil From Iran, Says German Minister
A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Gulf, Iran.
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New Delhi: German minister of state for International Affairs Niels Annen has called the pressure being exerted by United States on its allies to comply with sanctions on Iran as “irritating, to put it mildly.”

Speaking exclusively to News 18, he said that Germany will act in its own interest and hopes that India, too, will continue buying Iranian oil.

“It will be India’s sovereign decision. I am not a salesman for Iran but I have an impression that India is willing to continue buying oil from Iran and this will be a very important statement,” he said.

The minister said efforts now need to be made on devising a financial mechanism to overcome the US sanctions. He said the French have made a proposal in this regard and that finding a suitable financial instrument to allow companies that want to deal with Iran, “will be complicated but needs to be done.”

India, when faced with a similar situation in 2012, had evolved a Rupee-Rial mechanism to bypass US sanctions and continue trading with Iran. Iran is India's third-largest oil supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Iran supplied 18.4 million tonnes of crude oil between April 2017 and January 2018 (first 10 months of fiscal 2017-18).

But the US this has time around seemed less willing to allow leeway and adopted a tough stance. New Delhi too responded by saying that India will only follow UN sanctions and not those imposed by the US.

The Trump administration had set a deadline of November 4 to stop all oil trade with Iran.

But recent indications have been that the Donald Trump administration is softening its stand and was willing to work with countries on a case by case basis, government sources told News18.

A team from US is in India this week to discuss sanctions on Iran and its fallouts. Sources had said, it is after this meeting that a clear picture would emerge on a possible waiver. However, it has been made amply clear by sources that “India will act in its national interest.”

The German minister hailed India as a global player and also said India’s demand for a place in the United Nations Security Council was indeed “legitimate”.

He said the “UN system is not perfect. It is representing a world that is not a world of today.” However, given the pressure on the international system it is important to protect the United Nations. He said Germany backs reforms in the UN.

Meanwhile, Germany has also been extending cooperation as far as the issue of alleged regrouping of Khalistani forces is concerned.

Annen said, “We have exchanged information and have also listed Khalistani organisations in the European Union which is an indication of our political will to cooperate.”

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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