Iran oil a big issue between, India, US

File photo for representation

Oil supply from Iran may emerge as an area contention between India and the US after US Permanent Representative to the UN Nikki Haley claimed India recognised the security threats from Iran but had logistical constraints to deal with.

In a counter, the Ministry of External Affairs said all steps would be taken to ensure India's energy security was not compromised.

“In our eyes, Iran is the new North Korea. India too recognises security threats (emanating from Iran), but we understand logistics is an issue,” Haley said here on Thursday responding to a question at the end of her public talk, organised by the Observer Research Foundation.

One of the top officials in the Donald Trump administration, she is on a two-day tour to India during which she met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. A Reuters report suggested that Haley had conveyed to Modi to reduce India's dependence on Iranian oil.

Iran remains India's third-biggest supplier of oil after Saudi Arab and Iraq. But the US now push countries around the world to stop Iranian oil imports following fresh sanctions.

While some sanctions would come into effect after a 90-day 'wind-down' period ending on August 6, the rest, notably in the petroleum sector will be implemented from November 4 following a 180-day wind-down period.

“We have seen the statement made by the State Department official on this matter. The statement was not India specific and applies to all countries. India will take all necessary steps including engagement with relevant stakeholders to ensure our energy security,” said Raveesh Kumar, MEA spokesperson.

Haley used strong languages against the middle-east country in her prepared speech. “Iran is a theocratic dictatorship that abuses its people, funds terrorism, and spreads conflict throughout the Middle East. The Tehran regime is the hidden – and sometimes not-so-hidden – force behind most of the conflict in the region. And its aggressive ambitions reach much further abroad. Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon threatens all of us,” she asserted.

When Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited India last month, his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj stated India only abide by UN functions.

There are now reports of Petroleum Ministry officials meeting Indian refiners to brief them about the issues and discuss possible future options. However, there are no official words.

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