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.


British PM Theresa May resigns over Brexit failure

Updated 14 min 21 sec ago
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British PM Theresa May resigns over Brexit failure

  • She will resign as Conservative Party leader on June 7 with a leadership contest in the following week
  • She endured crises and humiliation in her effort to find a compromise Brexit deal that parliament could ratify

LONDON:  British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday she would quit, triggering a contest that will bring a new leader to power who is likely to push for a more decisive Brexit divorce deal.

May set out a timetable for her departure — she will resign as Conservative Party leader on June 7 with a leadership contest beginning the following week.

“I will resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist party on Friday, 7th June so that a successor can be chosen,” May said outside 10 Downing Street.

With her voice breaking up with emotion, May, who endured crises and humiliation in her effort to find a compromise Brexit deal that parliament could ratify, said she bore no ill will.

“I will shortly leave the job that has been the honor of my life to hold,” May said. “The second female prime minister, but certainly not the last.”

“I do so with no ill will but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love,” May said.

May, once a reluctant supporter of EU membership, who won the top job in the turmoil that followed the 2016 Brexit vote, steps down with her central pledges — to lead the United Kingdom out of the bloc and heal its divisions — unfulfilled.

May bequeaths a deeply divided country and a political elite that is deadlocked over how, when or whether to leave the EU. She said her successor would need to find a consensus in parliament on Brexit.

May’s departure will deepen the Brexit crisis as a new leader is likely to want a more decisive split, raising the chances of a confrontation with the European Union and a snap parliamentary election.

The leading contenders to succeed May all want a tougher divorce deal, although the EU has said it will not renegotiate the Withdrawal Treaty it sealed in November.

Meanwhile, the EU will not offer whoever takes over as British prime minister a better Brexit deal, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Friday.

“From my perspective, I don’t see the European Union offering any new prime minister a better or very different deal to what was on offer to Theresa May,” Coveney told Ireland’s Newstalk radio station after May on Friday said she would quit.

“This idea that a new prime minister will be a tougher negotiator and will put it up to the EU and get a much better deal for Britain? That’s not how the EU works.”