US cautions India on Iran ties: Don’t rush, hold your horses

wendy-sherman_650x400_81430330364The Iran deal is not done yet. Don’t rush – “hold your horses.” This is the message of Wendy Sherman, the US’ key negotiator for the Iran nuclear deal, to India and all those countries who are eagerly looking to step up economic and energy ties with Tehran in the hope of the much-anticipated lifting of sanctions.

“I would say ‘hold your horses’. We are not quite to an agreement yet,” Sherman, US Undersecretary of Political Affairs, said in the Indian capital. She was responding to a question on the US’ position on India and other buyers of Iranian oil that want to increase their trade ties with Tehran.

The deadline for the Iranian nuclear deal, which aims at preventing Iran from developing an atomic bomb and to bring the country into the global mainstream, has been set for June 30. However, the United States says there is no guarantee of the closure of the deal as tough nuclear negotiations lie ahead.

“We understand that nobody wants to be last in line, everybody wants to be first in line, if the sanctions do get relieved,” said Sherman.
“… There are a lot of details that have to be worked out, and there are a lot of events happening in the world, and those events could derail the agreement,” said Sherman.

Ms Sherman also struck a cautionary note for all those countries who are waiting for the lifting of economic sanctions against Iran. “It will take some time, even after an agreement, for all the implementation to be worked out”.

She indicated several pitfalls that litter the way to the fructification of the nuclear deal. “We are still quite concerned about state-sponsored terrorism, we are quite concerned about human rights, we are quite concerned by what is happening in Yemen, what’s happening in Syria, other parts of the world, Lebanon,” she said.
Tehran has consistently denied any involvement in terrorism.

India has high stakes in the success of the Tehran-West deal as the removal of sanctions will pave the way for expanding oil imports from Iran and will also help in deepening cooperation focused around the transition in Afghanistan.

India has consistently supported Tehran’s right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, but has also at the same time asked the latter to comply with its NPT obligations. India can scale up import of Iranian oil by at least 20-25 per cent if the deal fructifies and the sanctions are lifted.

Media reports suggest that an Indian delegation recently visited Iran to enhance oil supplies with Tehran, and seek development rights on Farzad B Gas field, if the nuclear deal is secured by June 2015.

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