(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India
Saying No to Iranian Oil
to Please America
assessment of whether India is fully and actively participating in
United States and international efforts to dissuade, isolate, and, if
necessary, sanction and contain Iran for its efforts to acquire weapons
destruction, including a nuclear weapons capability (including the
to enrich uranium or reprocess nuclear fuel), and the means to deliver
of mass destruction, including a description of the specific measures
India has taken in this regard”
104g(2)E(i) of the Henry Hyde Act of 2006 regarding the Annual
& Compliance Report to be submitted by the US president to the
India has been getting 12 per
cent of its
crude oil imports from Iran.
This amounts to around 400,000 barrels per day. These supplies may stop
August since India
has not made payments for oil shipments for the past few months and
around $ 5
billion are due to the Iranian oil companies.
Iran has indicated that it may
to stop supplying oil if no arrangements for the payments are made. How
a situation come about? The Indian government has succumbed to US
curtail its trading and commercial links with Iran.
In July 2010, the United States
imposed wide ranging sanctions
aimed at scuttling its oil and gas industries. These sanctions went
the June 2010 UN Security Council sanctions which were adopted through
Resolution 1929. The United
States along with the European Union
placed prohibitive restrictions on banking and foreign exchange
with Iranian banks and financial institutions.
India is abiding by the illegal
unilateral sanctions imposed by the US and the European Union
just the UN Security Council sanctions. Under pressure of these
Reserve Bank of India
December 2010 disallowed all trade related payments with Iran
the Asian Clearing Union (ACU). This mechanism was being used for a
to make payments to Iran.
Once this was stopped, the problem arose of how to make the payments.
Subsequently, the Iranian and Indian governments agreed that payments
oil imports can be made through an account with the German Central
Bundesbank. The Bundesbank would transfer the money to the
Trade Bank (EIH) based in Hamburg.
This bank was not subject to sanctions.
However, after a few weeks
pressure from the United States
the German government stopped these transactions. Since then, the
continued to supply oil but India
has not made payments.
Iran has been the second
of crude oil to India
after Saudi Arabia.
UPA government is now engaged in finding out how to arrange for
sources of oil imports rather than ensuring that oil trade with Iran
The United States
is asking India to
source its oil imports from Saudi Arabia
as against Iran.
Ever since the Indo-US
the traditional relations with Iran
have been endangered. The United States
had made it clear that the nuclear deal entails acceptance of India making its foreign policy congruent
to that of the United
Further the Hyde Act which allowed nuclear cooperation with India clearly states that the president
of the United States
should annually provide an
assessment report to the US
on how India is
with the United States
sanction and isolate Iran.
The Left parties had strongly opposed this infringement of national
and the abridgement of India’s
foreign policy to suit US interests.
Within weeks of the
statement signed by President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in
2005, India voted
resolution against Iran
in the IAEA in September while the Non-Aligned group of countries
against or abstained. This vote against Iran was repeated in
These facts were appreciatively mentioned by the US
government when the Hyde Act was
discussed in the US Congress.
The next target was the
Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline. India
was warned publicly many times by America
not to proceed with the gas pipeline project with Iran. India
has complied though it still
formally does not admit to having abandoned the project. After waiting
than two years, Iran
decided to go ahead with the project. Iran
is now laying the pipeline upto the Pakistan border. India decided to go for the
(TAPI) pipeline project at the behest of the United States.
The earlier 25-year agreement
to buy liquefied natural gas from Iran
fell through after India
voted in the IAEA. Step by step, the Indian commercial projects in Iran
abandoned. Reliance has stopped gasoline exports to Iran
worth $ 280 million due to the US
Finally, the major
component of trade
which is the oil imports is now on the verge of being scuttled.
Incidentally, a curious
appeared during the visit of the US
secretary of state, Hillary Clinton to India, last week. A US official accompanying Clinton
during her stay in Chennai was quoted as saying that a solution to the
month long payments issue between India
on the crude oil imports “is in sight”. He said that the US
working with Indian officials on the issue. This reveals that India
approached Big Brother to find a way out. The responsibility for
supplies from Iran
the United States.
Oil supply as such has not been brought under any sanctions whatsoever.
Yet India, instead
of standing up to such illegal
measures is beseeching the US
for permission to import oil from Iran.
The import of oil and gas
from Iran which is
beneficial for India
is being sacrificed at the altar of the United
States’ goal to isolate Iran and to establish its hegemony over
West Asia. It is shocking that the
Indian government goes
along with the United States’ project which is against its own national
interests while close allies of the United States like Japan and South
continue to import oil from Iran and have worked out arrangements to
payments despite the US and EU sanctions. Turkey
is another country in the Nato which has entered into new contracts in
sector with Iran.
China has stepped up
imports from Iran.
Its imports in June registered an increase of 53.2 per cent year on
Bound by the iron fetters
nuclear deal, which is the centre-piece of the strategic alliance with
United States, the Manmohan Singh government is doing everything to
as per the Hyde Act adopted by the US congress, India is seen to be
cooperating with the US to isolate and sanction Iran for developing
technology that includes “the capability to enrich uranium or reprocess
fuel”. As per the Hyde Act, the US
president has to give his annual certification to the US congress that “India
is fully and actively participating in United
States and international efforts to dissuade,
if necessary, sanction and contain Iran”.
India can get its crude oil
from other countries. But what cannot be retrieved by this craven and
attitude to the United
is the country’s self respect and damage to national interests.