Pre-summit BRICS meet spurns US bar on Iran oil

Member states stress energy needs override American laws

India, China and their other partners in BRICS on Wednesday rejected American sanctions on Iran and stressed that US domestic law should not contribute to volatility in international crude oil prices and thus slow down growth rate in developing countries.

Solidarity visit: Hu Zintao arrives in New Delhi. PTI

The BRICS members   (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) reaffirmed their commitment to abide by the UN sanctions on Iran, but opposed the US move to discourage the purchase of crude oil from the West Asian country.

The fourth BRICS summit will be held here on Thursday. Trade and economic ministers of the bloc’s five members met on Wednesday and reviewed the global economic situation. Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said the US sanctions on Iran was one of the issues discussed.

“China is always ready to adhere to UN decisions, but we are not obliged to abide by another country’s domestic law. We are keen to continue normal trade ties with Iran and hope it is not affected by the domestic law of any other country,” Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said after a meeting with BRICS counterparts in New Delhi.

Chen was referring to new sanctions US President Barrack Obama imposed on Iran, by signing into law on December 29 last, Section 1245 of the US National Defence Authorisation Act for fiscal year 2012.

Washington hopes that the new sanctions will force Tehran to return to negotiations with the western powers on its controversial nuclear programmes.

Taking note of the rising trend in international prices of crude oil, the Chinese Minister said domestic laws of any country should not slow down the global economic recovery and pace of growth in the developing countries.

Sharma, too, opposed the US sanctions on Iran, but reaffirmed India’s commitment to abide by the curbs imposed by the UN. He noted India’s “civilisational” ties with Iran and pointed out that the UN sanctions did not forbid import of crude oil or other essential commodities from that country.
“Iran has been and continues to be an important source of energy for India,” said Sharma. He noted that spiralling international oil prices put enormous stress on economic growth of India and other BRICS nations.

The new US sanctions primarily target the financial sectors of Iran.

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