India-Iran oil import row: Tehran has a word of advice for ‘outsider’ US

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NEW DELHI: A day after reports emerged that the US is urging New Delhi to stop all oil imports from Tehran, Iran had a word of advice for the “outsider” US.“The USA is an outsider in the region so the insiders should come together and continue the friendship,” Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.Akhoundi also stressed on the importance of India-Iran relationship for the region — “we are looking at ways to work together,” he added.On Thursday, a senior US State Department official had said that the United States and India are engaged in “very detailed conversations” over Washington’s request to completely stop India’s oil imports from Iran.“We’re asking all of our partners, not just India, to reduce to zero oil imports from Iran and so I’m confident that will be part of our conversation with India,” the official told reporters, as the foreign and defence heads of the two countries met in New Delhi.
Akhoundi responded to the reports —”Of course, it will impact the trade between the two countries,” he said adding the sanctions would not halt oil sale to India.
“At the end of the day, both sides will find out some way out to carry on their relationship as we hear from the Indian part that they are already committed to buying the crude oil and we are also committed to continue our trade relationship with India and buy rice and other food material and also industrial material from the Indian side”.Iran is India’s third biggest supplier of crude oil but US sanctions will from November 3 block payment gateways.“There has been some impact… I will just not say something that is not realistic …Certainly, US has made the trade between the two sides uneasy but I would like to emphasise that this is not something that the US can halt and stop this relationship between two sides,” Akhoundi added.The minister also reaffirmed his government’s commitment to deliver the strategically important Chabahar port to Indian company within a month.On Thursday, Akhoundi had said that the port will be handed over to Indian company within a month as per an interim pact.“Now, we are ready just to hand over the port (Chabahar) to the Indian company just to operate this in an interim agreement that already we had with Indian part for one and a half year,”