By Brien Southward
During further negotiations over the Broad-Based Trade and Investment Agreement between India and the European Union, Western leaders pushed for India's support for a new round of economic sanctions against Iran. Despite the pressure, however, India continues to oppose the new sanctions on Iran, a nation that is one of India's most important trading partners, a "close friend," and a major supplier of petroleum.
Talks between the two powers have been ongoing since 2007, consisting of 14 rounds of negotiations so far, and were set to conclude in 2011, but differences between the two prevented an agreement from being reached on time. Nonetheless, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said that he expects the free trade deal to conclude later this year. "Our positions are now closer in all areas and the contours of the final agreement are emerging," Barroso said.
Iran has long resisted economic and sometimes military force from the West in response to its decades-old nuclear program, which Tehran says is only for providing civilian energy. Western leaders, in particular the European Union and the United States, suspect Iran of also secretly using nuclear technology to produce nuclear weapons.
So far there are around 30 countries that use nuclear power, most of which do not have nuclear weapons. Currently there are only 8 countries that are known to have nuclear weapons: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. Israel, which has been especially aggressive towards Iran, is also believed to have nuclear weapons.
The effects of the embargo and sanctions are already starting to be felt in Iran, with even harsher measures to come in July. To make up for the disruption in Iran's oil exports, nations such as China, Russia, and India have begun to import more Iranian oil as nations such as Saudi Arabia step in to fulfill the demand in the West created by the embargo on Iranian oil.