Nikki Haley talks tough on Iran import curbs, India may fall in line

Education General News

Indrani Bagchi | TNN | Updated: Jun 29, 2018, 09:04 IST

The Iran message was delivered most clearly by US ambassador to UN, Nikki Haley during her visit to New Delhi
The Haley message on Iran comes even as it emerged that the US pulled out of the 2+2 dialogue with India
Haley has been the tough US face, taking the hard line against Iran, North Korea and spearheading Washington’s walkout from the UN Human Rights Council.

NEW DELHI: The US is acting tough on India regarding energy imports from Iran + , and New Delhi, despite its efforts to preserve energy independence, may be forced to comply to avoid sanctions from kicking in. The Iran message was delivered most clearly by US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley during her visit to the city. In a special address on Thursday afternoon, Haley said, “The world is united against Iran having nuclear weapons because we all have good reason to worry about what Iran would do with those weapons.”

During the Obama years, India had to show a “significant reduction” and demonstrate it was bringing down oil imports at an average rate of 20% every six months. But US President Donald Trump has insisted that this go down to “zero”. That is also why the state department’s briefing to journalists this week on Iran was tougher than the one in early May.

Haley’s message comes even as the US pulled out of the 2+2 dialogue + because secretary of state Mike Pompeo chose to travel to North Korea to “follow up” on the Trump-Kim summit. The decision, seen as an open snub to India, also comes at a time when the bilateral relationship is under strain amid growing trade and economic disputes.
Sources said the dialogue would be rescheduled “soon” but bringing four top ministers together on a single day is proving to be a challenge. MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar maintained India’s official position. In reply to a question, he said, “The statement was not India-specific and applies to all countries. India will take all necessary steps, including engagement with relevant stakeholders, to ensure our energy security.”

However, Haley was unambiguous on Iran. Describing Iran as a “theocratic dictatorship that abuses its people, funds terrorism and spreads conflict throughout the Middle East”, she said, “The Tehran regime is the hidden, and sometimes not-so-hidden, force behind most of the conflict in the region. And its aggressive ambitions reach much further abroad. Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon threatens all of us.”