New Delhi: Describing Iran as the “next North Korea”, the US gave clear signals on Thursday that it would like India to stop oil imports from Tehran following Washington’s tough sanctions to end its nuclear progarmme.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, here on a three-day visit and who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, said in a speech on Thursday that just because countries (like India) have deals with Iran, it does not mean that they should be blind to the “violations” by Iran on the nuclear issue.
Replying to a question after her speech at a public function, she said the US believed that Iran was a threat and it cannot take its eyes of Iran.
“Iran, still with all of those incentives, has continued to violate resolution after resolution. They violated (by) building ballistic missiles, they violated by supporting terrorism, they violated by the fact that they are continuing to sell arms to…”
Haley said what President Trump did was “just because countries came to have deal (with Iran), doesn’t mean we should be blind to these violations”.
“And, what President Trump has said is we need to hold Iran to account….The US wants to be cautious but wants the international community to make sure they are paying attention to the violations. And what we are going to continue to do is to keep the pressure on them and we hope that other countries will join us because in our eyes Iran is the next North Korea,” she said.
Asked about her discussions with Modi to find a common ground on the US sanctions and India’s business with Iran, the US envoy said she did talk about this with him.
“We do have this in terms of our dialogue because I think that India also recognises the threats of Iran. We understand the logisitics becoming a play with Iran but we have to always make sure that the priority is peace and security.
“And, as long as the priority is peace and security, the US is going to continue to try and work with our partners, our friends and our allies to make sure that we are all pushing Iran to be a good, accountable international neighbour,” she said.
Haley’s comments assume significance in the context of US wanting India and China to stop oil imports and trade with Iran against the background of its tough sanctions on Teheran.
In her speech, Haley said Iran was a theocratic dictatorship that abuses its people, funds terrorism and spreads conflict throughout the Middle East.
“The Tehran regime is the hidden and sometimes not-so-hidden force behind most of the conflicts in the region and its agressive ambitions reach much further abroad. Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons threatens all of us.”
She complimented India as a state with advanced nuclear technologies which was widely accepted around the world.
“Why is that? Because India is a democracy and continues to be a responsible leader. In the last couple of years, India is joining three major non-proliferation groupings. The US also fully supports India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
“India continues to demonstrate it is a responsible steward of its nuclear technology. The world is united against Iran having nuclear weapons because we all have good reasons to worry about what Iran will do with those weapons. India and America enjoy a natural friendship that is based on our shared values and interests. The Trump administration seeks to take the US-India relationship to the next level to build a strategic partnership rooted in our common values and directed towards our common interests,” she said.