India snubs US on Iran sanctions once again

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 05:  Bob Kunst (R) protests against a nuclear Iran in front of the White House where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is visiting on March 5, 2012 in Washington, DC. President Obama met with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss peace in the Middle East, and Israel's growing concerns with Iran producing nuclear weapons.</p>

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 05: Bob Kunst (R) protests against a nuclear Iran in front of the White House where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is visiting on March 5, 2012 in Washington, DC. President Obama met with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss peace in the Middle East, and Israel's growing concerns with Iran producing nuclear weapons.

India thumbed its nose at the US again Thursday, reiterating that it would not allow sanctions against Iran to affect its "legitimate trade interests."

"In a globalized world, sanctions decided unilaterally or regionally can have an impact on the markets. Such measures should not impact on legitimate trade interests," the Times of India quoted foreign minister S M Krishna as saying after a meeting with Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi.

"India has always held that the nuclear issue should be resolved through peaceful diplomacy and the framework of the IAEA provides the best forum to address the technical aspects of the issue," the paper quoted Krishna as saying.

The joint statement seems to confirm that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was not able to make headway in urging India to reduce its oil imports from Iran further during her recent visit to Kolkata and New Delhi -- when, as GlobalPost reported, her browbeating may well have been counterproductive.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, India confirmed that it will pursue a multi-nation transport corridor across Iran to reduce the time it takes to truck goods back and forth from Central Asia and Russia, another plan that the US has opposed.

According to India's Hindu newspaper, the new transport corridor could see dry runs beginning next year.

At a three-day meeting of experts from 16 countries, leaders discussed the remaining hurdles facing the so-called International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and at least six supplementary routes that depend on Iran's cooperation, the Hindu reported.

The US had been pushing for a competing transport corridor through Afghanistan billed as the New Silk Route, which excluded Iran.