Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Iran The ‘Next North Korea’, India Should Re-Think Ties, Says Nikki Haley

Dubbing Iran as a “threat” and “the next North Korea”, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley today said her country will encourage India to re-think its relationship with Iran and decide whether it wants to continue doing business with it.

Her remarks assume significance as they come after the U.S. told India and other countries to cut oil imports from Iran to “zero” by Nov. 4, or face sanctions, making it clear that there would be no waivers to anyone.

Haley, here on her first visit to India after becoming the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, said in an address that Iran is a "theocratic dictatorship" that abuses its people, funds terrorism, and spreads conflict throughout the middle-east.

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“The Tehran regime is the hidden, and sometimes not-so-hidden, force behind most of the conflict in the region,” she said.

Replying to questions after her address, the 46-year-old Indian-American said she had discussed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi the issue of India's business with Iran. “We do have this in terms of our dialogue because I think that India also recognises the threats of Iran. We understand the logistics of becoming a play with Iran but we have to always make sure that the priority is peace and security,” Haley said.

Later, in an interview to NDTV, she said that India should rethink its relationship with Iran, as the U.S. gets set to impose sanctions against those doing business with Tehran.

All of us have to rethink whom we choose to do business with. I think, as a friend, India should also decide, is this a country they want to continue doing business with? So, yes I had that conversation with Prime Minister Modi. It was a constructive conversation. I think for the future of India, future of resources, we would encourage them to rethink their relationship with Iran.
Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador To The UN

In her address organised by think-tank Observer Research Foundation, Haley said the U.S. would continue to try and work with its partners and allies to make sure that Iran was being pushed to be a good, accountable international neighbour.

Answering a question after her address, she said that the U.S. wants to be cautious but wants the international community to make sure they are paying attention to the violations.

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"And what we are going to continue to do is to keep the pressure on them and we hope that other countries will join us because in our eyes Iran is the next North Korea, “ she said. In her address, Haley said the U.S. strongly believes that Iran is a "threat" and it cannot take its eyes off the country.

"We don't believe this because of some ideas but we believe because there is proof that in spite of the Iran (nuclear) deal, still with all of those incentives, they continue to violate resolution after resolution,” she added.

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"Just because countries came to have deal (with Iran), doesn't mean we should be blind to these violations," Haley said.

President Donald Trump last month announced that the U.S. was withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal signed by the Obama administration in 2015 under which Tehran had agreed to limit its sensitive nuclear activities and allow international inspectors in return for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.