Iran on Tuesday slammed India for not making promised investments for the expansion of Chabahar port and warned of ending “special privileges” if New Delhi cut oil import from Tehran under the pressure of the United States.
Responding to the fresh US sanctions on Iran and Trump administration’s pressure on India and China to cut Iranian oil imports, Rahaghi said that Tehran had been India’s reliable partner and will continue to be so. But if New Delhi chose to import oil from countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iraq, it will lose all the “special privileges” being provided by his country.
"If India were to replace Iran with countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq, the US and others for the 10 per cent of its oil demand then it may have to revert to dollar-denominated imports which mean higher CAD (Current Account Deficit) and deprivation of all other privileges Iran has offered to India," Rahaghi said while speaking at a seminar on 'emerging challenges and opportunities in the global diplomacy and its impact on bilateral ties with India'.
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After Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Iran is India's third-largest crude oil supplier. The country supplied 18.4 million tonnes of crude oil to India between April 2017 and January 2018.
The US has recently communicated to India and China to cut oil imports from Iran to "zero" by November 4 when the fresh sanctions will come into effect. US President Trump delivered the tough message to India through its firebrand US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley. During the recent visit to India, Haley, the daughter of Sikh immigrants from Punjab met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and officially apprised him of the Trump administration's decision.
“There is great opportunity for the US to help meet India’s energy needs. Recent purchases of US crude and liquefied natural gas are just a couple of examples of this potential” Haley had said after meeting Modi.
"It is unfortunate that Indian investment promises for expansion of Chabahar port and its connectivity projects have not been accomplished so far. It is expected that India takes immediate necessary measures in this regard if its cooperation and engagement in Chabahar port is of strategic nature," news agency PTI quoted Iran's Deputy Ambassador and Charge d'Affaires Massoud Rezvanian Rahaghi as saying.
In 2016, India had signed a pact with Iran and Afghanistan to develop the strategically located Chabahar port for trade and transit. The port was seen as India’s gateway to central Asian countries after Pakistan denied access to its Port of Gwadar.