US asks India, others to go slow in boosting trade ties with Iran

NEW DELHI - The United States wants India and other countries to wait for a final nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers before actively engaging with Tehran, US Under Secretary Wendy Sherman said on Wednesday.
"I would say 'hold your horses'. We are not quite to an agreement yet," Sherman said, referring to India and other buyers of Iranian oil that want to increase their trade ties with Tehran.
Diplomats are negotiating to fill the gaps in an April 2 framework agreement that would curb Iran's nuclear program, allaying Western fears it could develop an atomic bomb, in return for relief from international sanctions.
However, the United States has said that further tough negotiations lie ahead and no guarantees that a deal will be secured by a June 30 deadline.
"We understand that nobody wants to be last in line, everybody wants to be first in line, if the sanctions do get relieved," said Sherman, who has been negotiating on behalf of the United States in the long-running Iran nuclear talks.
An Indian delegation recently visited Iran to renew talks on seeking development rights of Farzad B gas field and enhancing oil supplies if a deal is clinched by the end of June.
A delegation-led by Iran's oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh, visited China earlier this month seeking to mend fences with Chinese energy firms to get oil and gas development projects going and discuss oil sales.
Sherman said terrorism and human rights related sanctions against Iran would not be lifted even if a deal was achieved by June 30, indicating that Washington was worried by Iran's influence across the Middle East from Iraq to Lebanon and Syria to Yemen.
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