US envoy speaks of ‘rare exceptions’ message after State Dept warns India of ‘sanctions’

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Washington: After the US State Department hinted there could be sanctions against India for the latter’s Chabahar port agreement with Iran, Eric Garcetti, America’s envoy to New Delhi, spoke of “rare exceptions in cases of strategic interest.”

“We know that Iran has been a force for terrorism, a force for exporting ‘a lot of bad things,’ not only in the Middle East, but in other places as well. We genrally have sanctions, but with rare exceptions, where there is a strategic interest,” Garcetti told India Today.

Garcetti, however, also mentioned how businesses must be “aware of the risks of interacting with Iran.”

“It (Iran) imports terrorism, as it directly attacks another sovereign nation,” he said, referring to Tehran’s recent drone and missile attacks on Israel, a US ally.

“That should be a concern for all of us. We certainly want to see a region surrounding India that is stable and democratic, and adheres to to the rule of law, and certainly does not export terrorism. I think that is a shared concern,” the former Los Angeles mayor stated.

The United States ambassador’s remarks come after Vedant Patel, Principal Deputy Spokesperson, State Department, without naming India, commented at a media briefing that countries doing business with Iran should be “aware of the potential risk of sanctions.”

Reacting to Patel’s statement, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday that people should not have a “narrow view” of the Chabahar port as the project will “benefit everyone.”

On Monday, India and Iran signed an agreement under which the former will operate the Chabahar port, a flagship project between the two countries, for 10 years. The Long-Term Bilateral Contract is between Indian Ports Global Limited (IPCL) and Iran’s Port & Maritime Organization (PMO).

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