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Inside Story
Is India defying Western sanctions on Iran?
As India explores trade opportunities with Iran we ask if it is hampering efforts to stop Tehran's nuclear programme.
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2012 09:14

Iran is India's second-largest fuel supplier after Saudi Arabia, providing around 12 per cent of the country's crude oil needs.

"As European and Asian countries leave Iran, Indian [and] especially Chinese companies are backfilling, sort of undermining the effect of the sanctions."

- Richard Weitz, the Hudson Institute

But the US and Israel are trying to gather support for full economic sanctions against Iran by the end of June.

As Tehran and New Delhi plan to hit $25bn in annual bilateral trade in the next four years, it appears as if India is resisting the pressure.

So, why does India continue to trade with Iran despite the mounting international pressure?

Joining the discussion with presenter Adrian Finighan on Inside Story are guests: Sreeram Chaulia, the vice-dean of Jindal School of International Affairs, and author of International Organizations and Civilian Protection: Power, Ideas and Humanitarian Aid in Conflict Zones; Richard Weitz, a senior fellow and director for the Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute, and author/editor of several books including National Security Case Studies; and Mohammad Marandi, a political analyst and professor of American Studies at the University of Tehran, and currently a visiting professor at American University of Beirut.

Sreeram Chaulia, the vice-dean of Jindal School of International Affairs, says:

"Geo-strategy, the problem in Afghanistan and energy security… is what really defines the mutually beneficial relationship. Iran needs her hard cash at a time when the sanctions noose is tightening and India is willing to continue trading... and it's determined to stay this course."

"The West is doing itself a disservice on two fronts. One, ordinary Iranians are becoming more angry with the West for hurting them. Second, Iranians are moving towards new partners. They're ditching the dollar and the euro, and are now trading in local currencies with countries like India, China, Russia and a number of others."

Mohammad Marandi, University of Tehran


Mutually-beneficial ties:

  • India buys $14bn worth of crude oil from Iran per year, accounting for eight per cent of India's total oil imports.
  • Iran is India's second-largest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia. India aims to pay 50 per cent of oil imported from Iran in rupees.
  • India sells slightly more than $2.7bn worth of goods to Iran per year. Both countries have set $25bn as the trade target for 2015.
  • Critics accuse India of undermining international efforts to isolate Iran. India says it will abide only by UN sanctions, not unilateral ones. New Delhi also defends Tehran's right to develop civil nuclear energy.
Source:
Al Jazeera
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