Improved US-Iran ties would be welcome: India

India welcomed prospects of improved ties between the US and Iran.

Updated: Sep 25, 2013, 20:53 PM IST

New Delhi: India on Wednesday welcomed prospects of improved ties between the US and Iran.

"If there is a thaw and if there is an improvement in understanding and relations between the US, the major world powers and Iran, it is a welcome development," Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma told reporters here.

"We have been concerned about the turbulence in the entire Middle East region, volatility in our neighbourhood and if things settle down, it should be welcomed and we hope that this is taken forward," he added.

Iran has been placed under international sanctions over its nuclear programme. Bilateral trade between India and Iran stood at USD 14.94 billion in 2012-13.

"We have trading links with Iran which we have never stopped. We do import, not only oil but other products also," the minister said.

India reduced imports of crude oil from Iran by over 26.5 percent in the financial year ended March 31 after US and European sanctions made it difficult to ship oil from the Persian Gulf nation.

India imported about 13.3 million tonnes of crude oil from Iran in 2012-13 fiscal, down from 18.1 million tonnes shipped in the previous financial year.

There had been signs that the US and Iran would have the highest diplomatic contact since before the 1979 Islamic Revolution to try to settle Tehran`s nuclear issue.

However, an anticipated meeting between US President Barack Obama and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly failed to take place.

An offer in this regard was made by the US, which Iranian officials turned down, saying it was "too complicated" for them at this point of time, a senior Obama administration official said.