New Delhi: A day after US secretary of state Mike Pompeo criticised Iran as a “terror regime”, Iran’s embassy in India issued a statement accusing the US of pushing for instability and confrontation in the region.
On Wednesday, the situation in the gulf was part of discussions between Pompeo and Jaishankar – and also figured in the questions during the press interaction.
The Indian minister said that New Delhi had a “certain perspective on Iran, obviously, from where we are based”. “In terms of common ground, though I used it for trade, we have common ground on energy as well. I mean, for us it is important that global energy supplies remain predictable, that they remain affordable,” he added.
India has had to scout around to fill the gap from the end of waiver for import of Iranian crude, which accounted for about 10% of New Delhi’s foreign oil purchase. A large part of the demand has been fulfilled through spot buys of US crude through European countries. However, with India dependent on oil and gas from the gulf, any disruption in supply lines would hit the economy hard.
After Jaishankar’s remarks, Pompeo intervened that the US does acknowledge that the Hormuz straits should remain open, but then appended that India would be sympathetic to the US’s ‘anti-terror’ stance against Iran.
“We also know that Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, and we know the Indian people, how they have suffered from terror around the world,” he said.
Pompeo also claimed that there was a “shared understanding” with India over deterring the Iranian “threat”.
“So I think there is a shared understanding of threat and a common purpose to ensure that we can keep energy at the right prices and deter this threat – not only the threat in the narrow confines of the Middle East, but the threat that this terror regime poses to the entire world,” stated Pompeo.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the Iranian embassy in Delhi said that the US was escalating the crisis. “These allegations are nothing than continuation of forging unfounded accusations and fabrications by the US Administration specially State Secretary Pompeo to push for more hostilities, instability and confrontation in the region,” it said.
The embassy described the additional sanctions imposed on Iran as “a brutal act of terrorism”. After the US withdrew from the 2015 multilateral nuclear pact, the Trump administration restored sanctions against Iran.
The regional flashpoints “including in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, are rooted in occupation, illegal military interventions, hegemonic and social engineering policies of the United States”.
Describing Iran as a “victim of terrorism”, the Iranian embassy noted that Tehran was at the “forefront” of fighting groups like ISIS and was ready to contribute to “the promotion of an effective “Regional Dialogue” for peace and security.”