Wednesday, 20 June, 2018

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

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Leonard Rios | 31 May, 2018, 23:05

India will keep trading with Iran and Venezuela despite the threat of fallout from United States sanctions against the two countries, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said Monday.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Swaraj added that her country's position was "independent" of any other country and would not make foreign policy "under pressure".

The India stance in vital as the Trump administration earlier this month pulled out of the landmark nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and the world's six major powers in Vienna in 2015.

Iranian officials are plotting with US allies across the globe to develop a series a measures meant to counter new sanctions by the Trump administration following its abandonment of the landmark nuclear deal, setting up a global economic showdown between America and its allies over their future business dealings with the Islamic Republic.

Iran is the second largest supplier of crude oil to India, supplying more than 425,000 barrels of oil per day, and India is one of the foreign investors in Iran's oil and gas industry. If India goes ahead with Russian and Iranian deals regardless of the sanctions threat, the U.S. will have little choice but to exempt India without conditions.

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Zarif said Iran and India have good cooperation and hoped that bilateral cooperation in different fields, especially in energy, would further expand.

During the visit, India and Iran signed almost a dozen pacts, centrepiece of which was an agreement on development of Chabahar port. The countries are also discussing the barter-like system to avoid U.S. sanctions, Sputnik reports.

Foreign Minister Zarif has been visiting leaders of several countries to discuss the future of Iran nuclear deal including meeting the European Union, British, French, and German counterparts in Brussels. Even if Iran is again kicked off the bank exchange, Iran and India in the past have traded billions in rupees and riyals, which locks them in to buying from each other with the money but is better than foregoing the trade.

India will also try to negotiate its way out of the sanctions on Iran that is likely to affect developing the Chabahar port -- crucial for India's trade with Afghanistan and central Asia. Trump's May 8 withdrawal from the nuclear accord, however, has put this investment at risk and Iranian Petroleum Minister Bijan Zanganeh said the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which already claims 30 percent of the project, could take the French supercompany's 50.1 percent stake.

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