Ali Chegeni also asserted that his country can provide “affordability, accessibility and security” of energy to India, Press Trust of India reported.
The Iranian envoy also alluded to the possibility of using barter, rupees and European mechanisms for trade in oil with India and other countries in order to circumvent the US sanctions.
“We expect from a friend… to understand each other, to follow our national interests, while Iran is ready for being the protector of India’s energy security,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an Iran-India cultural event.
Chegeni said oil imports may have been stopped, but Iran had not gotten any “negative signal” from India that they would continue this in the future.
“India is a friend forever. We understand that India will act according to its national interests. As we understand from [External Affairs Minister] Jaishankar’s statement that India will follow its national interests. That is acceptable for everybody,” he said.
“We think India is under pressure, but we believe India is a friend of Iran. India’s relations with other countries do not affect us. Our relations with India are based on history; they are based on long-term mutual benefits and interests,” the envoy said.
Asked about the possibility of the Chabahar port project getting affected despite not coming under US sanctions, Chegeni said it showed the “hypocrisy” of Americans, that they say one thing and do another.
He alleged that the US was applying “indirect” sanctions on the project.
“We wish that the golden gate (Chabahar) will not be affected, but indirectly it could be impacted,” he said.
The envoy also accused the US of indulging in “terrorist acts” by applying economic sanctions on various countries.
“I am calling US actions ‘state terrorism’ against Cuba, Venezuela and Iran… The US will isolate itself,” he said.
Chegeni stated that many countries were buying oil from Iran, both officially and unofficially. “Our oil is sold; destinations are secret,” he said.
The envoy expressed hope that India’s trade relations with Iran would continue to expand. “Up until April, bilateral trade between the two countries was at 18 billion dollars, while in previous years it was 13.7 billion dollars,” he said.
The envoy said Iran’s Pasargad Bank had got all its clearances and will open a branch in Mumbai soon.
As the six-month waiver from US sanctions to buy oil from Iran ended in May, India had said it would deal with the issue based on three factors – the country’s energy security, commercial consideration and economic interests.
In November, the US had granted a six-month waiver to India, China, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and South Korea to continue importing oil from Iran. The temporary waiver ended on May 2.
In May last year, the US reimposed sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal which was struck in 2015.