The Latest from Iran (9 May): Propaganda and Oil

Hillary Clinton & India’s S M Krishna0430 GMT: The headline in many of Tehran’s newspapers this morning is a claim of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s  unsuccessful trip to Delhi, “India Rebuffs Clinton’s Call for Reduction in Oil Imports from Iran”. Press TV summarises the narrative:

 

Indian External Affairs minister Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna has dismissed the US call to ban the purchase of Iran’s crude oil.


In a Tuesday meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in New Delhi, Krishna described Iran as “a key country for our (India’s) energy needs,” AP reported.

“It (Iran) remains an important source of oil for us although its share of our imports is declining.”

The problem for the Government’s economic officials, if not its propagandists, is that the “Indian Rebuff” is not true.

Notice the phrase of Krishna’s that Press TV tucks away: “[Iran's] share of our imports is declining.” Behind Delhi’s public line — always cautious, sometimes talking of the importance of trade with Iran — the Government and refiners are privately implementing cuts in supplies. Imports are already down 15-20%, and one major trading company has stopped purchases altogether.

Tehran’s bluster is still strong enough to take in some top analysts, such as Juan Cole, and to be promoted by former State Department official Reza Marashi. But it does not match the trend of both discussion and economics.

Clinton’s mission was not to halt a surge in Indian imports of Iranian oil, but to reduce them farther. And the key to this is alternative supplies: if Delhi can be assured of replacement from Saudi Arabia and possibly countries such as Iraq and Libya, then expect the Islamic Republic’s media to face a greater challenge in months to come.

 

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