US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday urged India to do “even more” to cut its purchases of oil from sanctions-hit Iran to keep pressure on that country to to prove its nuclear programme is peaceful.
Ms. Clinton, however, commended the steps taken by India so far in lowering purchases of Iranian oil.
“India is certainly working towards lowering purchases of Iranian oil. We commend the steps they have taken thus far. We hope they will do even more,” she told a public event in Kolkata on the first leg of her visit to India that will also take her to Delhi.
Ms. Clinton’s remarks came when she was asked why the U.S. wants India to reduce oil imports from Iran when India is not an oil producing nation.
The U.S.’ top diplomat also said there was adequate oil supplies available from countries like Saudi Arabia.
Pressing India to further reduce oil imports from Iran tops the agenda of Ms. Clinton who flew into Kolkata on Sunday at the start of a three-day visit to India.
The U.S. has been urging India and other countries to slash oil imports from Iran aimed at stepping up pressure on Tehran to comply with international demands over its nuclear programme.
Ms. Clinton said it could be “devastating” for the world if Iran developed a nuclear bomb.
She said that Iran has been regularly flouting international obligations especially its insistance on nuclear proliferation.
“The international community feels that Iran has to be pressurized into changing its behavior, and it is this pressure that has convinced Iran to come back to the negotiating table,” she said.
“We think that India as a country will understand the causes for trying to use the policy to resolve the difficult issue and it is certainly working towards lowering the purchase of Iranian oil,” Ms. Clinton said elaborating on her remarks on what US expected India to do on the Iranian issue.
“We cannot accept that that they (India) have taken it that far. We hope that they will do even more. We believe there is adequate supply of oil in the market place as Saudi Arabia, Iran and other suppliers are putting oil,” she said.
“We think this is India’s role in the international community,” she said.
Ms. Clinton said the international community has imposed sanctions Iran for its attempt to destabilise the region for developing nuclear weapons.
“We appreciate what India and other countries can do to help us. Arms race in the region is feared as Iran pursues its nuclear programme. We appreciate India’s stand to help us maintain pressure on Iran,” she said.
Ms. Clinton said India, China, Japan and other European countries are being asked to lower their supplies to keep pressure on Iran.
She said that imposition of sanctions on Iran had pressurised the country to come back to the negotiating table and there is unanimity amongst the members of the Security Council, EU and Germany to negotiate a resolution to the Iranian nuke issue.