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India's government was not a signatory to the nuclear deal, but New Delhi announced this week that it will not honor the USA sanctions and will continue to import Iranian oil and engage in other business with Iran.

The visit took place 20 days after Donald Trump withdrew the US from the global nuclear agreement, known as the JCPOA, and is going to reintroduce sanctions against Iran.

President Donald Trump may have ordered the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran, but one of Asia's biggest oil importers - and a strategic partner of the US - plans on ignoring them.

Speaking with Tasnim, a news agency affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Mohammad Javad Zarif said on May 26, "The report claiming that the European Union plans to put forward a proposal to Iran outside of the framework of JCPOA and start talks about Iran's missile power and regional influence is a complete lie".

The State Department also is scrambling to respond to Iran's efforts by building a counter-coalition aimed at isolating Tehran and any nation that works with Iran to skirt new US sanctions, USA officials told the Washington Free Beacon.

The department said the sanctions were implemented "in the wake of recent protests by the Iranian people and the regime's subsequent brutal crackdown". Swaraj said that apart from reaching out to Indians living overseas, the ministry has also tried to connect with the masses in the country. Sanctions imposed by the Obama administration, targeting financial institutions dealing with Iran, had forced India to cuts its imports from Tehran.

Announcing the decision, President Donald Trump had reimposed sanctions against Iran which were suspended after the nuclear deal was finalised three years back.

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President Rouhani delivered a scathing blow to Trump after his decision, saying "Iran will be conferring with the world's two super powers, Russian Federation and China".

"Thanks to India status as Iran's political and economic partner in the region, we have organised the meeting with Indian officials in different governmental sectors", Zarif said.

Sushma Swaraj said India has interacted at the Ministerial level with 186 out of 192 countries in the world. Bilateral trade between India and Iran amounted to $12.9 billion a year ago.

"He told me that if I can not come to North Korea, at least I should send the Minister of State, but the visit should take place", she said.

Most of Iran's crude exports, at least 1.8 million barrels a day, goes to India, China, and other Asian buyers.

The regional bloc focusing on security and trade also includes four ex-Soviet Central Asian republics and two new members, Pakistan and India.

Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj (R) and Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif (R).


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