US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi it was important India cut Iranian oil use, but said the United States would work to allow India to use an Iranian port as corridor to Afghanistan.
“Sanctions are coming (on Iran) and we’re going forward on that, and with India and the US building strong relationships we hoped that they would lessen their dependence on Iran,” Haley, a member of US President Donald Trump’s cabinet, told two reporters after her meeting with Modi in New Delhi.
The United States said on Tuesday it has told countries to cut all imports of Iranian oil from November and is unlikely to offer any exemptions as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on allies to cut off funding to Iran.
India is one of the largest importers of Iran’s oil.
“There’s a will, a political will, from both sides to figure out how to make this work,” Haley said. “Prime Minister Modi very much understands where we are with Iran, he didn’t question it, he didn’t criticize it, he understood it and he also understands that (India’s) relationship with the US is strong and important and needs to stay that way.”
The US push to curb countries’ imports of Iranian oil comes after Trump in May withdrew from a 2015 deal between Iran and six world powers aimed at stalling Tehran’s nuclear capabilities in return for the lifting of some sanctions. Trump ordered the reimposition of US sanctions that were suspended under the accord.
Haley said the implications of Iran-related sanctions would be discussed when the foreign and defense ministers of India and the United States meet shortly. Japan and South Korea, also major buyers of Iranian oil, are in talks with the US government in a bid to avoid the adverse effects of sanctions.