US working to address India's energy concerns

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Washington, Nov 16 (IANS) Even as India has been given a waiver from the tough Iran sanctions, the United States is working closely with New Delhi to address its very real concerns about energy, according to a US official.

The US did "provide India a waiver, which we were authorised to do given that they made progress in cutting off their dependence on Iranian crude," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Thursday.

"That waiver, I think, still remains in effect. But obviously, we're consulting very closely with the Government of India," he said when asked about the impact of the sanctions under the US National Defence Authorization Act against countries doing business with Iran.

This is a process by which we're working with our partners around the globe all in the same cause, which is putting increased pressure on Iran to come clean and to address international concerns about its nuclear programme," Toner added.

Asked if there were new options for India to fulfil its energy gap left by not buying oil from Iran, the spokesman said he did not have anything specific to cite.

"But obviously, we're well aware in our Strategic Dialogue with India of India's very real concerns about energy, and we're obviously working with them to address those concerns," he said.

Asked about Iran sanction on China, Toner noted that like India it too had been given a waiver.

"The goal of these NDAA actions or sanctions are to increase pressure on Iran, so we're obviously − it's an ongoing conversation we're having with China, with India, with other global partners on how to cut off dependence on Iranian crude, look at other energy sources that can fill their needs, and put pressure on Iran," he said.