Given the rally in global crude oil prices, the US administration’s stubborn refusal to extend sanction exemption to countries — including India — importing oil from Iran is indeed a bad news. The US threat that countries continuing to import oil from Iran after May 1 would be subjected to severe secondary sanctions, including being taken out of the SWIFT international banking system and a freeze on dollar transactions and the US assets, is the worst form of coercive diplomacy. Needless to mention, a bigger beneficiary of this arrangement would be the US and not India for reasons too obvious to elaborate. It is a failure of our diplomacy.
Importing from alternative sources is bound to lead to cost escalation, seriously impacting our macro-economic management and widening our current account deficit. Imports from Iran were on terms that no other supplier would be willing to offer. Mercifully, the Trump administration has spared the Chabahar port in Iran being developed by India from such bullying tactics. So far so good.
S K Choudhury, Bengaluru
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