Washington: The Indo-Iran rice trade would
not be "sanctioned" under the American curbs on Tehran as food
and medical exports were exempted from the measures, a top US
official has said, amid reports that the Islamic republic was
defaulting on rice payments to India.
US sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear
programme "include exceptions for exports of things like food,
medicine, medical devices. So from our perspective, this kind
of trade would not be sanctioned," State Department
spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters.
She was responding to questions on news reports that Iran
was defaulting on payments to India on its purchase of rice.
"If it is true, that Iran is defaulting, it would simply
speak to the financial pressure that they`re feeling around
the world, from sanctions I would guess," she said.
Nuland, however, noted that the US was not in a position
to independently confirm the Iranian default on rice payments.
"The Indian government is absolutely clear about our
concern that countries ought to be weaning themselves off
Iranian oil, and we are working together on how that might be
achieved with India and with other countries," she said.
The US, she said, has no quarrel with the Iranian people.
"In fact, it is the Iranian people`s future and their
hopes and aspirations to live in a free, more democratic state
that actually provides for them rather than siphoning off
vital resources of the state into the nuclear programme that
we are seeking to help them achieve here with these policies,"
"Our sanctions are designed to make it hurt the Iranian
regime, that it is making the choice not to come clean on its
nuclear programme, not to allow the IAEA in to see what it
needs to see," Nuland said.