India not buying Iran oil under US pressure: CPI-M


New Delhi : India is not buying oil and gas from Iran because of US pressure while even some staunch American allies continue to do so, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) said Friday.

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“The import of oil and gas from Iran which is beneficial for India is being sacrificed at the altar of the US goal to isolate Iran,” CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat said in a commentary.

“It is shocking that the Indian government goes along with the US project, which is against its own national interests while close allies of the US like Japan and South Korea continue to import oil from Iran and have worked out arrangements to make payments (to Iran) despite the US and EU sanctions,” Karat said in People’s Democracy, the CPI-M mouthpiece.

“Turkey is another country in the Nato which has entered into new contracts in the oil sector with Iran. China has stepped up oil imports from Iran. Its imports in June (went up) 53.2 percent year on year.”

India has been getting 12 percent of its crude oil imports from Iran. This amounts to around 400,000 barrels a day.

These supplies may stop in August since India has not made payments for oil shipments for the past few months and around $5 billion are due to the Iranian oil companies.

This was happening, Karat said, because India was “bound by the iron fetters of the nuclear deal, which is the centre-piece of the strategic alliance with the US”.

“The Manmohan Singh government is doing everything to ensure that as per the Hyde Act adopted by the US congress, India is seen to be fully cooperating with the US to isolate and sanction Iran for developing nuclear technology,” he said.

Karat admitted that India can get its crude oil requirements from other countries.

“But what cannot be retrieved by this craven and servile attitude to the US is the country’s self respect and damage to national interests.”

Iran has been the second largest supplier of crude oil to India after Saudi Arabia. The US, Karat said, was asking India to source oil imports from Saudi Arabia as against Iran.