Washington: Lauding India`s efforts to stand by its side on sanctions against Iran despite facing challenges on the energy front, the US has informed India that it will pursue diplomacy to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue.
Iran along with Syria did crop up during the meeting between President Barack Obama and Manmohan Singh yesterday in which the Prime Minister emphasised on diplomatic efforts, sources familiar with the discussions said.
Obama, during the meeting at the Oval office, told Singh that tough international sanctions have worked and he would use all diplomatic efforts to resolve Iran`s controversial nuclear programme.
The Indian side reiterated its stand that Iran has a right to peaceful use of nuclear energy but Tehran would have to answer questions over its nuclear programme and abide by its international commitments, the sources said.
Western powers and Israel suspect that Iran`s declared peaceful programme of uranium enrichment masks a covert weapons drive, a charge vehemently denied by the Iranian leadership.
The subject of Iran came up for discussion during talks between the two leaders over security, political and economic issues, a senior administration official said.
When the two leaders were holding their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, the telephonic conversation between Obama and his Iranian counterpart was not scheduled by then.
"I will say that we actually did not have this call scheduled until after the bilateral meeting between the President and Prime Minister Singh. It was scheduled rather quickly after we received word from the Iranian government that they were interested in having a discussion before President Rouhani left New York," the official said.
India has been a partner in American sanctions effort, the official said in response to a question.
"We realise that that has been a difficult step for the Indian government to take, given their energy relationship with Iran. And that`s involved a lot of work by both us and India," he pointed out.
"In the past that India has been supportive of resolving these types of issues diplomatically, so, certainly, I think it`s a type of issue on which we can have continued contact and constructive discussions with India," noted the senior administration official.
India has slashed import of crude oil from Iran by over 26.5 per cent in the financial year ended March 31 as US and European sanctions made it difficult to ship oil from the Persian Gulf nation.
In a joint statement issued after the meeting between Singh and Obama, said that the two leaders emphasised on diplomatic efforts.