The United States has “made clear in conversations with many countries… [that there] cannot be a situation of business as usual” with Iran, a senior State Department official said on Monday.

The comments, by Assistant Secretary Philip Crowley, were by way of response to the recent statement by Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao that unilateral sanctions by the U.S. would affect the business of Indian companies in Iran. Ms. Rao had also said that India’s energy security and development needs would be affected by such sanctions.

Outlining the U.S. view on adherence to the Iran sanctions Mr. Crowley emphasised, “Every country obviously pursues its own self-interest of its citizens. We understand that. By the same token, all countries have international obligations to fully respect and to heed the sanctions that were passed by the Security Council last month.”

He added that the U.S. was taking “our own steps to fully implement those sanctions and to take additional steps within our own laws” noting also that it was “up to Iran to come forward and engage the [International Atomic Energy Agency] IAEA and the international community constructively.”

Arguing that the “future of the world” was at stake, Mr. Crowley warned of “the danger of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, which will affect countries outside of the region, including India”. He said that all countries had a responsibility to do what they could to convince Iran to change its present course. “I’ll leave it to India to describe what steps it is going to take,” he added.

He did not immediately comment on whether the U.S. was talking to either India or Pakistan regarding their plans for a gas pipeline project with Iran.

With inputs from analyst Nisha Krishnan

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