US threats over buying Iranian oil puts India in dilemma

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (C) holds hands with Indian President Ram Nath Kovind (L) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) during a ceremonial reception at the Indian Presidential palace in New Delhi. (File Photo / AFP)
Updated 15 September 2018
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US threats over buying Iranian oil puts India in dilemma

DELHI: India is facing a dilemma over how to respond to the US threat of punitive measures against countries that do not comply with sanctions on Iran, experts say.
On Thursday, the US assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs, Manisha Singh, warned of the “strongest actions possible on people who will not assist us in complying with this new range of sanctions that we are putting back into place.”
She was asked in Congress: “If any of the major buyers of Iranian crude, which is China, India… refuse to sharply cut their purchases, are we really prepared to cut their banks off from the global banking system?” Singh replied: “We are prepared to take the most serious actions possible on Iran.”
A spokesman for India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Sudesh Verma, told Arab News: “The party still has to make up its mind on the issue.”
Harsh V. Pant, head of the Strategic Affairs Programme at the Observer Research Foundation, a New Delhi-based think tank, told Arab News: “India’s official position remains that it doesn’t honor unilateral sanctions, but the reality on the ground is different.”
He said: “India and Iran are trying to see how to bypass the sanctions, but India will find it tough to salvage the relationship with Iran considering the fact that the Trump administration is acting tough. There’s great pressure on India to fall in line.”
He added: “India has already reduced its oil imports from Iran. New Delhi is cognizant of the fact that the US financial system is important for India.”
Ashok Sajjanhar, a former diplomat who served in the Indian Embassy in Iran, told Arab News: “We’re dealing with Washington in a very nimble-footed manner.”
He said: “New Delhi will have to play a very deft balancing act. It might have to taper down its imports, but it won’t go to zero.”
Iran is India’s third-largest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia and Iraq.


Pakistan PM’s defense of the political U-turn sparks mirth

Updated 2 min 53 sec ago
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Pakistan PM’s defense of the political U-turn sparks mirth

  • The opposition has branded the Pakistani PM as ‘U-turn Khan’
  • Some supporters attempted to explain that Khan was misusing the term “U-turn,” and simply meant that leaders must be flexible

ISLAMABAD: Margaret Thatcher was famously not for turning, but Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan has declared U-turns to be a “hallmark of great leadership,” in comments provoking criticism from opponents and a slew of jokes from Pakistanis.
Khan, the cricketer-turned-premier, has come under fire since he took office in August for a string of apparent about-faces.
They include backtracking from his claim that as prime minister he would only fly by commercial airliner, caving to Islamist pressure over his decision to appoint a member of a persecuted religious minority as an economic adviser, and allying himself with politicians he has previously declared corrupt.
With the opposition branding him ‘U-turn Khan’, he has defended himself to journalists.
“Both Hitler and Napoleon faced defeat as they did not change their strategies according to the situation... Leaders should always be ready to take U-turns,” he was quoted as saying by the English-language daily Dawn newspaper on Saturday.
Some supporters attempted to explain that Khan was misusing the term “U-turn,” and simply meant that leaders must be flexible.
“While dictators find it difficult to do course correction, leading their countries into disaster, democratic leaders have ability to do timely course correction when needed!” wrote human rights minister Shireen Mazari.
But the comments ignited social media, especially after Khan doubled down on his statement with a fresh tweet on Sunday.
“Doing a U-turn to reach one’s objective is the hallmark of great leadership just as lying to save ill-gotten wealth is the hallmark of crooks,” he wrote.
The tweet prompted a wave of jokes on Twitter.
“I was going to take a bath. I took U turn when I realized that water is cold,” tweeted one user from Peshawar.
“This morning I woke up to drink tea, then I took a U turn and slept again. Now, I have become a real leader,” tweeted another.
Others posted memes including an image of a circular racetrack captioned “Road to Leadership.”
Khan did not appear to respond, but his party’s official Twitter account posted a video clip of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos stating: “People who are right a lot change their minds.”