Iran takes u-turn, assures India on flexibility in oil supply

New Delhi, July 12: Iran has assured India that it will keep giving flexibility to it in oil supply while adding that it hopes New Delhi too will keep in mind its friendly relations with Tehran while balancing its own geopolitical interests.

The statement from Iran embassy in New Delhi came a day after Massoud Rezvanian Rahaghi, Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d’Affaire of Iran, had said that if India plans to replace Iran with countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq, the US and others for the 10 per cent of its oil demand then it may lose all privileges Iran has offered to India.

Rahaghi had made this statement at a seminar on Tuesday on the topic- Emerging Challenges and Opportunities in the Global Diplomacy and its impact on bilateral relation with India.

However, a day later, the embassy issued a clarification with regard to Rahaghi’s statement saying, “Iran has always been a reliable energy partner for India and others, seeking a balanced oil market and rational prices of oil, which ensures the interests of both countries as consumer and supplier.”

“Iran understands the difficulties of India in dealing with the unstable energy market and it has done and would do its best to ensure security of oil supply to India through offering various flexibility measures which facilitates our bilateral trade in particular Indian export to Iran. India is a sovereign nation and taking into account many criteria, including its friendly relations with supplier countries, market factors, geopolitical and geo-economical considerations and potentials and reliability of the oil suppliers chooses its energy partners,” the statement said.

In his speech on Tuesday, Rahaghi had said that in the previous round of US sanctions between 2012 and 2015, Iran did its best to ensure security of oil supply to India and offered flexibility through selling oil with longer term credits and discounted prices as well as allowing oil payments in Rupee and insurance coverage for oil shipments which facilitated bilateral trade and pushed up significantly Indian exports to Iran.

“These measures also assisted Indian government to minimize its Current Account Deficit (CAD) considerably due to rupee denominated oil imports from Iran curtailing foreign exchange outflow.” However, if India were to replace Iran with countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq, the US and others for the 10 per cent of its oil demand then it may have to revert to dollar-denominated imports which mean higher CAD and deprivation of all other privilegesIran has offered to India,” the diplomat had said.

On Wednesday, the embassy in its statement underlined the long friendly relations between the two nations enjoy based on mutual understanding, cooperation and respect.

“There is a strong and vast potential to expand these cordial ties derived from the same roots and sharing common culture and values. The two countries share the same understanding towards many global and regional challenges and cooperate harmoniously in many international fronts. Coercive literature has never had a place in the history of Iranand India relations and their dialogues,” the statement said.

It further added that on India’s investment in Chabahar Port and construction and expansion of the roads and railway connecting Chabahar Port to Iran’s and Afghan’s national railway networks, Iran has always welcomed Indian initiatives.

“However, due to the importance of the issue, Iran has frequently emphasised on expediting Indian investment, and pushing Indian partner companies to accelerate their engagement in execution of the projects,” the statement added.

Source Tribune India