Iran remains an important source of oil for India: Krishna

New Delhi, May 31: In the backdrop of US pressure to reduce oil imports from Iran, India on Thursday said unilateral sanctions should not impact upon its 'legitimate trade interests' with the West Asian nation. After talks with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna made it clear that Iran remained India's important source of oil, given the growing domestic demand for crude.

Asked about the US sanctions on Iran and its affect on trade, Krishna said India has always abided by the United Nations Security Council resolutions on the Iran issue. "As far as other sanctions, those decided unilaterally or regionally, we are aware of such measures. In a globalised world, these actions can have an impact on the markets," he said. "Our commercial entities take these into account. Such measures should not impact on legitimate trade interests," the foreign minister added.

Salehi, on the occasion, underlined that Iran has been a reliable partner for India on matters of energy security and will continue to be so. He also urged India to look at energy resources that were reliable. "Iran is an important neighbour and crucial trade partner for India, and also a major source of our energy supplies," Krishna said, adding the former was also a gateway for India to Central Asia.

Saying India and Iran had common interest in the stability of Central Asia and the Gulf, Krishna said he and Salehi used the occasion to discuss threats the two nations face from terrorism and extremism. Salehi is in India as a Special Envoy of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to extend an invitation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to attend the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit to be held in Tehran in August. He is scheduled to meet Singh tomorrow.

Salehi also briefed Krishna on the recent discussions between Iran and the P5+1 in Baghdad on Tehran's nuclear programme. "India has always held that the nuclear issue should be resolved through peaceful diplomacy and the framework of the IAEA provides the best forum to address the technical aspects of the issue," Krishna said. On the importance of NAM, Salehi underlined the need for a voice for developing nations to speak for justice, fairness and equal sharing of management of world affairs.

When asked about allegations against Iran in connection with the attack on an Israeli diplomat here in February, Salehi said Iran need not bother itself about such charges.


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