India capitulated to American pressure and complied with the anti-Iranian sanctions regime, yet Iran keeps begging it to reconsider and continue investing in the Islamic Republic anyhow, with its humiliating behavior revealing just how desperate it is for economic relief during these tough times.
US sanctions got India to ditch Iran as its second-most important energy partner last month and an unnamed official just told one of his country’s leading media outlets that New Delhi’s position isn’t going to change “anytime soon“, yet some Iranian officials have yet to accept this reality and are practically grovelling before Modi to get him to reconsider. This humiliating behavior was on full display over the weekend after Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh’s latest statements on the issue, which practically amount to begging and reveal just how desperate Iran is for economic relief during these tough times. Here’s what he said regarding India’s tacit refusal to develop the Farzad B gas field, as reported by the official SHANA Petro Energy Information Network:
“We gave them great concessions… but it seems that the Indians have not signed any contracts for developing the field because of the sanctions. Iran considers India as a strategic partner and an old and reliable friend, but they did not sign a contract for developing Farzad B gas field for any reason, so if they do not indicate their readiness to develop the field after a certain period of time we will have to prepared the licensing round for having the field developed by an Iranian contractor … and have the project bankrolled by dipping into the National Development Fund of Iran. Iran’s relations with China and India are strategic ones and we can not influence our relations with these countries only because of a project; we must definitely negotiate with the Indians about Farzad B and declare to them that we cannot wait anymore. We do not want to challenge the relations between Iran and these countries, even if the sanctions are lifted, we are ready to sign a deal with Indians for Farzad B development project and continue this plan.”
From the above, it can be seen that Iran still considers India to be a “strategic partner” despite its recent betrayal. The Islamic Republic is also apparently very sensitive about offending the Indians and giving them the face-saving pretext to discontinue further cooperation as a result, which is why Zangeneh is so careful to say that the likely failure of this joint project won’t affect his country’s ties with New Delhi. To add self-inflicted insult to injury, he then reaffirms that Iran is ready to sign a deal with India if the sanctions are lifted, basically accepting that New Delhi will continue complying with Washington’s will and evidently having no problem with that at all. Instead of moving on and finding other partners like any other country would normally do in this case, Iran is obsessed with winning back India, which — to channel the unnamed Indian official quoted earlier — is unlikely to happen “anytime soon”.
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.