Modi government bows to US sanctions on Iran: CPI-M

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, Nov 8 (IANS) The Modi government has cravenly accepted the US sanctions on Iran because it is locked into a strategic embrace with Washington, the CPI-M has said.

"There was no need for India to cravenly accept the US sanctions on Iran," said an editorial in the CPI-M journal "People's Democracy".

"First of all, unlike the earlier UN sanctions, it has been unilaterally imposed by the US. Even its allies UK, France and Germany have refused to accept the sanctions... Russia and China are firmly opposed to the sanctions," it said.

If India had wanted, it could have cooperated with all these major countries in order to ensure that its oil trade with Iran and other business investments could be carried on, argued the editorial. "This would have been the way to protect India's national interests.

"But India is locked into a strategic embrace with the US due to the Modi government's eagerness to be a subordinate ally.

"To defy the US sanctions and preserve its strategic autonomy would require a break from this strategic alliance - something which the Modi regime cannot even contemplate," it said.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist said that despite its public posturing, the Modi government had caved in due to threats of US sanctions regarding oil imports from Iran.

The US has re-imposed sanctions on Iran from November 5 on its oil trade, shipping and banking. Anyone entering into trade and business activities in these sectors with Iran are also liable to be sanctioned.

India is the second largest buyer of oil from Iran after China. At present, Iran is the third largest supplier of oil to India. In the past six months, the US has been negotiating with India to cut oil imports from Iran.

The editorial said that India had already made significant cuts in its crude oil imports from Iran. It has dropped from 690,000 barrels per day in May 2018 to around 400,000 barrels per day in August this year.

When the US announced its intention to impose sanctions on Iran, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had declared that India would abide only by UN sanctions.

"From then, to pleading for a waiver by accepting US terms to reduce oil imports from Iran by a third before sanctions came into place on November 5, reveals a steady succumbing to US pressure," the CPI-M said.

--IANS

mr/soni