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India says it will not follow US sanctions on Iran

India and Iran have long-standing political and economic ties, with Iran one of India's top oil suppliers
Indian minister of foreign affairs Sushma Swaraj meets with her Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday (AFP)

India will keep trading with Iran and Venezuela despite the threat of fallout from US sanctions against the two countries, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said on Monday.

Asked at a news conference whether US action against Iran and Venezuela would damage India, Swaraj said the country would not make foreign policy "under pressure".

Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal and ordered the reimposition of US sanctions suspended under the 2015 accord.

Swaraj said New Delhi's position was independent of any other country.

"India follows only UN sanctions, and not unilateral sanctions by any country," she said.

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India and Iran have long-standing political and economic ties, with Iran one of India's top oil suppliers.

Bilateral trade between India and Iran amounted to $12.9bn in 2016-17. India imported $10.5bn worth of goods, mainly crude oil, and exported commodities worth $2.4bn during that same time period.

India has other interests in Iran, in particular a commitment to build the port of Chabahar on the Gulf of Oman.

Swaraj met Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in New Delhi on Monday just weeks after the US's rejection of the nuclear accord.

"Zarif briefed about the discussions that Iran has undertaken with parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action following the US decision to withdraw from the agreement," said an Indian government spokesperson in a statement, without elaborating further.

India continued to trade with Iran throughout previous sanction periods, but was forced to cut oil imports as sanctions choked off banking channels and insurance cover for tankers.

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