New Delhi upset by U.S. sanctions on Iran

July 19, 2010 at 10:32 AM

NEW DELHI, July 19 (UPI) -- New Delhi is concerned unilateral sanctions passed by Washington could influence its effort to invest in the Iranian oil and gas sector, energy officials said.

Petroleum Secretary S. Sundareshan said sanctions passed in early July by U.S. President Barack Obama could get in the way of activity in the Iranian energy sector, included renewed plans to join a $7.4 billion pipeline project from Iran's giant South Pars gas field.

Obama signed unilateral sanctions that bar foreign entities doing business in the Iranian energy sector from U.S. markets.

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said in the wake of the July measure that New Delhi was concerned the sanctions could have an "adverse impact" on energy security.

Sundareshan said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that U.S. sanctions could create problems in the energy sector for all of Central Asia.

"You would appreciate that there are immense opportunities in the oil and gas sector in Iran," he said. "There are unexplored frontiers in gas, which provide immense opportunities for the country. We would certainly like to utilize these opportunities without sanctions."

Indian firms halted gas sales to Iran in 2009, though the country imports about 14 percent of its energy need from the Islamic republic.

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