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As Talks with Iran Loom, Clinton Seeks Indian Support for Sanctions

The Hillary Clinton caravan has departed China and rolled into India. The main item on her agenda, according to the Financial Times, is to induce her host to further reduce its imports of Iranian oil. India has taken some steps in recent moths to slash its oil purchases from Iran but Clinton said that New Delhi needed to cut back “even more.”

India imports more oil from Iran than any other country besides China—some 300,000 barrels per day. India’s acquiescence to American pressure is therefore vital in its own right, but as the FT notes, India’s defiance also makes it harder for the U.S. to convince China to follow suit.

The coming weeks are crucial to American diplomatic efforts in the Middle East. The U.S. and its partners are due to meet Iranian negotiators in Baghdad at the end of the month. If the Obama administration is to succeed in persuading Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions, then it will need to convince Tehran that its major oil buyers will uphold sanctions.

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  • Kenny

    This old battle-axe insults the Indians by saying “that New Delhi needed to cut back “even more” on oil purchases from Iran when the Obama Administration does things like block the Keystone Pipeline which would ease pressure on the worldwide energy market.

  • WigWag

    Considering Professor Mead’s expertise on India he undoubtedly has much more insight into this than I do, but wouldn’t Narendra Modi be more amenable to cutting India’s imports of Iranian oil than the current Indian Government is?

    Given this likelihood and given the reasonable chance that Modi will be India’s next Prime Minister, shouldn’t the United States be cultivating him instead of attempting to isolate him?

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    Have sanctions ever worked against an Authoritarian Regime?

    What has changed to make this time different?

    Obviously if the US doesn’t swat Iran, Iran isn’t going to get swatted. Bush should have done it, but he already had 2 wars to fight, so I’ll give him a grudging pass. Obama is a weakling who leads from behind, so we know he isn’t going to do it. Maybe Romney will have the balls, but I don’t think much of his leadership skills.

    I have been saying all along that bombing out Iran’s entire energy industry to put all Iranians on foot and in the dark, would be an easy soft target that would mostly destroy itself once it got lit up, and that would require no boots on the ground. Destroying Iran’s energy industry would achieve several goals.
    1. I would shut off Iran’s major source of income.
    2. It would shut off the major source of money going to terrorist groups like Hezbollah, and Hamas.
    3. It would shut off the money going to internal regime supporters, and many would flee to join their foreign bank accounts.
    4. It would scare the hell out of all the OPEC nations who would recognize that the US could do the exact same thing to them with even greater ease.
    5. It would remove the bribes and influence oil wealth provides in foreign Regimes.
    6. The rise in oil prices would force greater domestic oil development which is to America’s long term benefit.
    7. And finally, America’s soft power has been seriously damaged by Iranian disrespect, which has led others to disrespect the US as well. Showing the World that there is a limit to the American people’s patience, would make American diplomacy much stronger. It may be good to “Speak softly and carry a Big Stick”, but from time to time you have to show that you have the will to swing the Big Stick to awesome effect. Reducing the Iranians back to the 7th century, to being on foot and in the dark, would be a fine demonstration of the awesomeness with which the US can swing the Big Stick.

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