The US is having "very intense and very blunt" conversations with India, China and Turkey on reducing their dependence on Iranian oil in a bid to bolster American sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear programme, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.
Clinton, testifying before a Congressional committee yesterday, said the US is asking these countries to take specific measures that would reduce their dependence on Iranian oil. But, without naming any one, she did acknowledge that this would be a bit tough for some countries.
"With respect to China and Turkey and India, we've had very intense and very blunt conversations with each of those countries. I think that there are a number of steps that we are pointing out to them that we believe they can and should make," Clinton said while responding to questions from Senator Robert Menendez.
Both India and China, two major buyers of Iranian oil accounting for 12 and 22% of its total export respectively, have said they will continue to import fuel from Tehran despite the EU and US embargo. Turkey has also said it will continue to import oil from Iran.
"In a number of cases, both on their government side and on their business side, they are taking actions that go further and deeper than perhaps their public statements might lead you to believe," Clinton said.
"We are going to continue to keep an absolute foot on the pedal in terms of our accelerated, aggressive outreach to them. And they are looking for ways to make up the lost revenues, the lost crude oil," she said.
"That's a difficulty for a lot of these countries, not just the ones you mentioned. So we've had to put together an entire team to try to assist them in thinking through ways of doing that," Clinton said.