“India has certainly taken a stance against the sanctions. So that’s been encouraging. But we expected our friends to be more resilient vis-a-vis US pressure", said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javed Zarif during a meeting with a group of visiting journalists from New Delhi.
Zarif said that by agreeing to abide by the sanctions, India has subjected itself to "bullying" by Washington. “You’re already being bullied by the US because they’re telling you not to buy oil from us. India being a great democracy, a huge country, can’t become the subject of bullying", Zarif said. He, however, expressed confidence that ties with India will not be affected by US sanctions.
“The development of Chabahar port has not been as fast as we had expected", said Zarif.
US President Donald trump withdrew from an international nuclear pact with Iran, signed in 2015 and subsequently re-imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic. India stopped buying oil from Iran in May in the wake of the US sanctions. Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar had claimed in October that Iran was not disappointed with India for not buying oil from the country. “I don't agree that the Iranians are disappointed. I think Iranians are realists. There is a larger global situation in which we are operating, they are operating. We frankly understand each other’s compulsions and possibilities", said Jaishankar at a US-India Strategic and Partnership forum meeting in Washington in October.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met with Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and India’s Central Bank’s Governor Shaktikanta Das earlier this month in an attempt to build a consensus on US sanctions against Iran. New Delhi apprised the US on India’s position regarding land access to Afghanistan via the Chabahar port. During a joint statement after a bilateral meeting on 1 November, Sitharaman spoke about US sanctions against Iran, saying “We explained the Indian position, particularly the need for us to maintain land based access to Afghanistan. For strategic and other reasons, it was important for us to continue with that. It has been heard and taken cognizance by the American side. We have explained the need for us to maintain our links to Chabahar".