India’s ties with Iran not influenced by others: ambassador 

August 17, 2019

TEHRAN – The Indian ambassador to Iran says that his country’s ties with Tehran will not be influenced by other countries.

In an exclusive interview with the Iran Labor News Agency (ILNA) published on Saturday, Gaddam Dharmendra said, “Bilateral discussions between Indian prime minister and Iran’s president have led to a diversification of trade exchanges.”

With regards to how U.S. sanctions can affect the volume of trade between Iran and India, he said, “We do not adjust our relations with Iran based on the behavior of other countries. Iran is our neighbor and we have extensive relations with Iran. We saw a rise of more than 25% in bilateral trade as compared to last year.”

“As you know, India is not part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal but India has backed the nuclear deal. We also know that the International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed that Iran has fulfilled all its obligations so far.”

Ambassador Dharmendra says sanctions are making officials in India and Iran to think of diversifying trade ties beyond the energy sector.
 

Dharmendra then referred to a decision by Iran to scale down its commitments to the international nuclear deal, saying it is clear that Iran has made decisions “that we are aware of, but we hope that all countries will resolve these differences peacefully by negotiation and dialogue.”

He also compared the European Union’s Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for trade with Iran under U.S. sanctions with India’s recent measures to maintain commercial relations with Tehran, saying, “Iran and India’s special financial mechanism has been active for about a year and is pleasing to both countries.”

“This mechanism enables us to meet some of Iran’s basic needs, including pharmaceuticals. In fact, we have set up our own SPV and we are happy about that.”

The ambassador also said that sanctions are making officials on both sides to think of diversifying their trade ties beyond the energy sector. “Tehran-New Delhi relations were mostly in the field of energy, and Iran exported oil to India and India exported items to Iran that were not in balance before.”

“But now regarding to new issues, we have to see what we can do about Iranian oil. India-Iran bilateral trade stands at more than $ 17 billion (2018-19). This is an increase of 25%.  At present, commodities like Basmati rice, Soybean meal, black tea and cane sugar are seeing an upward trend.”

According to Dharmendra, the U.S. sanctions against Iran are a new challenge which nevertheless offers an opportunity for both countries.

Members of Iran-India chambers of commerce, manufacturers and traders must explore ways to further boost trade between the two countries, he suggested.

“Both Iran and India are large, developing economies with solid fundamentals. Both countries are benefiting from their respective demographic advantages. I see our economic partnership as being on a positive trajectory,” the Indian ambassador stated.

SP/PA

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