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India looking to deepen cooperation with Iran

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New Delhi : Welcoming the lifting of nuclear- related sanctions against Iran as “milestone”, India today said it looks forward to further developing its longstanding, close economic cooperation with Tehran, including in the spheres of energy and regional connectivity.

“India welcomes the announcement of lifting of nuclear- related sanctions against Iran. The milestone represents a significant success for patient diplomacy, and signals a new chapter of peace and prosperity.

“India looks forward to further developing its longstanding, close and mutually beneficial economic cooperation with Iran, including in the spheres of energy and regional connectivity,” External Affairs Ministry said today in a release.

Earlier this week, the US and the EU have lifted crippling sanctions against Iran following the UN nuclear watchdog’s finding that Tehran had curbed its nuclear program as promised.

Under pressure from the US and other western powers, India had relegated its second biggest oil supplier by cutting down purchases from 21.2 million tons in 2009-10 to 11 million tons in 2013-14. Imports have been of that order in last three years.

Indian firms have so far shied away from investing in Iran for the fear of being sanctioned by the US and Europe. The same was deterring New Delhi from claiming rights to invest nearly USD 7 billion in the biggest gas discovery ever made by an Indian firm abroad.

But after the lifting of sanctions, India is making a renewed pitch for rights to develop 12.8 Trillion cubic feet of gas reserves ONGC Videsh Ltd had found in 2008.

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