Iranian Foreign Minister to meet Sushma Swaraj on Monday

Sushma Swaraj and Iran minister

Sushma Swaraj and Iran minister

India's government was not a signatory to the nuclear deal, but New Delhi announced this week that it will not honor the USA sanctions and will continue to import Iranian oil and engage in other business with Iran.

Asked at a news conference whether United States action against Iran and Venezuela would damage India, Swaraj said the country would not make foreign policy "under pressure". The two sides will review ways to safeguard both countries' economic interests and prepare the grounds for developing further cooperation between Tehran and News Delhi, he said.

India is also wary of United States sanctions affecting its oil imports from Iran, one of its closest sources.

On India-US relations in the context of Iran, Sushma Swaraj said India's foreign policy is independent and not the result of pressure or reaction.

In February, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani visited New Delhi when several agreements were inked to expand bilateral economic ties.

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"We will be sending out teams of diplomats and specialists to talk about specific concerns with the plan for re-imposition of USA nuclear-related sanctions and next steps with Iran", the official said. There are indications that India would continue doing business with Iran unless the sanctions imposed by the U.S. are endorsed by the United Nations.

Indian refiners had slashed purchases of Iranian crude to about half their previous levels when the United Nations, European Union and USA imposed a broad array of economic sanctions against Tehran. Union home minister Rajnath Singh followed up by saying that India was not averse to talks but Pakistan should take some initiative to curb infiltration and come forward to jointly take action against terrorists. Bilateral trade between India and Iran amounted to $12.9 billion past year.

Zarif said that the US new strategies vis-a-vis Iran will lead to greater isolation of Washington among the global community. India imported $10.5bn worth of goods, mainly crude oil, and exported commodities worth $2.4bn during that same time period.

The regional bloc focusing on security and trade also includes four ex-Soviet Central Asian republics and two new members, Pakistan and India.

"Jab seema par janaze uth rahe hon, to baatcheet ki awaaz acchi nahi lagti (when there are funeral processions taking place on the border, talk of dialogue is not appropriate)", Swaraj said.

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