‘Mathai told US snapping ties with Iran is difficult’

A week before Iran made claims of progress in its nuclear programme,Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai is learnt to have told US interlocutors that India’s energy needs

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Published:February 16, 2012 2:40 am

A week before Iran made claims of progress in its nuclear programme,Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai is learnt to have told US interlocutors that India’s energy needs,its population in the Gulf region and Iran being the only land access to Afghanistan were among the reasons for India’s nuanced position on the Islamic republic. However,sources said Mathai also said that India believed Iran — as an NPT signatory — has certain “obligations”.

Mathai reportedly had a “very frank exchange” with US officials at Capitol Hill. The officials allegedly asked Mathai why India’s cannot reduce ties with Iran,to which they were allegedly told that there are 6 million Indians in the Gulf region,whose welfare is an “enormous responsibility”. Iran also constitutes a “declining but significant” source of energy imports,and it provides the only land route access to Afghanistan.

Given this,Mathai said,it is not easy for India to make such “enormous decisions” of snapping ties with Tehran.

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