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Having blunt talks with India, China on Iran: US

The US is having conversations with India, China and Turkey on reducing their dependence on Iranian oil, Hillary Clinton has said.



Washington: The United States is having "very
intense and very blunt" conversations with India, China and
Turkey on reducing their dependence on Iranian oil, the
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has told lawmakers.

Hillary, testifying before a Congressional committee
yesterday, said the US is asking these countries to take
specific measures that would reduce their dependence on
Iranian oil adding. But, without naming one, she did
acknowledge that this would be a bit tough for some countries.

"With respect to China and Turkey and India, we`ve had
very intense and very blunt conversations with each of those
countries. I think that there are a number of steps that we
are pointing out to them that we believe they can and should
make," Hillary said while responding to questions from Senator
Robert Menendez.

"In a number of cases, both on their government side and
on their business side, they are taking actions that go
further and deeper than perhaps their public statements might
lead you to believe," Hillary said.

"We are going to continue to keep an absolute foot on the
pedal in terms of our accelerated, aggressive outreach to
them. And they are looking for ways to make up the lost
revenues, the lost crude oil," she said.

Claiming that oil deficit is a difficulty for several
other countries, Hillary said US has come up with lots of
suggestions that would help these countries in resolving the
crisis.

"Our expectation and the direction we are giving to
countries is that we do expect to see significant reductions.
I am pleased to report, Senator, that we`ve been aggressively
reaching out to and working with countries to assist them in
being able to make such significant reductions," Hillary said.

Earlier in the day, testifying before the State, Foreign
Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee of the Senate
Appropriations Committee, Hillary told Senators the US is
aggressively pursuing sanctions against Iran.

"We are implementing the new Iran sanctions aggressively.
The (US) President issued an executive order on February 6th
that blocks assets under US jurisdiction of all Iranian banks;
also makes it clear that both the Departments of Treasury and
State are expected to enforce the sanctions absolutely," she
said.

"We have been travelling the world, high-level teams from
Treasury, Energy and State, to explain what the sanctions are
to counterparts around the world. We`re very frank in these
discussions about the requirements of US law," the US leader
said.
Meanwhile, a broad range of countries are making decisions
to reduce their dependence on Iranian crude, unwind their
dealings with the central bank of Iran, she said.

"We are also pushing very hard to make it clear that we`ll
help countries that have a significant dependence on Iranian
crude to try to find alternatives. It is something that they
have to look for. They can`t just stop cold turkey and not
have anything fuelling their economies," Hillary said.

While referring to the steps being taken by the European
Union and Japan, the Secretary of State said that some of the
major oil producers have set forth their willingness to try to
make up the difference.

"We`ve seen increasing difficulty by Iran in importing and
exporting products. They cannot purchase third-party liability
coverage for their vessels. So we`ve stopped them from being
insured, which means they can`t travel," she said.

Hillary added that the Japan, which lost much of their
electricity production because of the earthquake and the
Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown, had reduced their
imports from Iran in the range of 15 to 20 per cent since last
year and is looking for new suppliers.

PTI

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