"US sanctions on Iran include exceptions for exports of things like food, medicine, medical devices. So from our perspective, this kind of trade would not be sanctioned," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters. Nuland was responding to questions on news reports that Iran is defaulting on payments to India on its purchase of rice.
"If it is true, that Iran is defaulting, it would simply speak to the financial pressure that they're feeling around the world, from sanctions I would guess," she said, noting that the US is not in a position to independently confirm the Iranian default on a rice payment.
"The Indian Government is absolutely clear about our concern that countries ought to be weaning themselves off Iranian oil, and we are working together on how that might be achieved with India and with other countries," she said.
The US, she said, has no quarrel with the Iranian people. "In fact, it is the Iranian people's future and their hopes and aspirations to live in a free, more democratic state that actually provides for them rather than siphoning off vital resources of the state into the nuclear programme that we are seeking to help them achieve here with these policies," she said.
"Our sanctions are designed to make it hurt the Iranian regime, that it is making the choice not to come clean on its nuclear program, not to allow the IAEA in to see what it needs to see," Nuland said.