New Delhi (Sputnik) — The US has re-imposed economic sanctions targeting the Iranian energy, shipping and financial sectors in what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called "the toughest sanctions ever placed" against Iran. India is one of the eight countries which have received temporary waivers from the US sanctions against Iran for the next six months after which, according to Mike Pompeo, "We continue negotiations to get all the nations to zero."
Sputnik interviewed Mohan Guruswamy, chairman and founder of the Centre for Policy Alternatives in India, on the range of issues regarding New Delhi's approach towards sanctions in future.
Mohan Guruswamy: The exemption made to India (and China) only underscores the economic weight of the two Asian giants.
India made clear to the US that it does not care much about its unilateral sanctions, and would continue to import as much Iranian oil as necessary. I don't think the quantum purchased should be the issue. That we will keep buying Iranian oil and break the attempted economic blockade of Iran is what is important.
Sputnik: After completing the present annual term contract which was signed during Iranian President's visit to New Delhi in February this year, do you think India will cut its oil import to zero from the next financial year?
Mohan Guruswamy: India will never cut its oil supply from Iran to zero. For one it is best suited for some of our refineries; it is the closest source. And India would like Iran to step up purchases from India.
Sputnik: The revised terms of crude purchase being worked out with Iran includes rupee-denominated trade, where Iran would give assurance of Indian imports to the tune of oil bought by Indian refiners. Will this change the trade balance which is currently in favor of Iran?
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Mohan Guruswamy: Rupee payment will not turn the trade balance in India's favor, but it will contribute to our overall trade balance. It is always welcome, and a bigger market for Indian goods will benefit our companies. We also hope to see several Indian cos having JV's in Iran.
Mohan Guruswamy: The proposed North-South Transport Corridor between India and Russia will be a global game changer.
It will bring two strategically close countries physically close. It will bring about a close integration of the Indian, Iranian and Russian economies.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mohan Guruswamy and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.