Amid US sanctions, Iran expressed hope that India will act according to its national interest and promised that the country would act as a “protector” of India’s energy security even as the country is “under pressure” to not buy Tehran’s oil.

Iran’s Ambassador to India Ali Chegeni asserted that his country can provide “affordability, accessibility and security” of energy to India.

His remarks come a week after US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo hailed India for cutting off oil imports from Iran and desisting from buying petroleum products from Venezuela and promised to ensure that adequate crude is made available to the energy-hungry country.

He hailed India’s “assertiveness” in the international matters and pitched for a “new kind” of bilateral cooperation, leaving behind the “nagging misconceptions” and “distrust” witnessed in the earlier era which “still lingers”.

Pompeo on his visit to New Delhi, had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

“We think India is under pressure, but we believe India is a friend of Iran,” ambassador Ali Chegeni, said. “India’s relations with other countries do not affect us. Our relations with India are based on history, it is based on long-term mutual benefit and interest.”

Referring to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s remarks at the joint press interaction with Mr Pompeo in New Delhi last week, Mr Chegeni said: “If Mr Jaishankar said affordability, accessibility and security of energy, Iran is the only country that can provide all these aspects of energy for India. We expect from a friend… that we understand each other, follow our national interest and Iran is ready for being the protector of energy security of India.”

Chegeni said probably the oil import might have been stopped but Iran had not got any “negative signal” from India that they would do so in future.

“India is a friend forever. We understand that India will act according to its national interest. As we understand from Mr Jaishankar’s statement that India will follow its national interest. That is acceptable for everybody,” he further said.

Tehran faces renewed sanctions amid tensions with the United States.

The US had re-imposed sanctions on Iran last November, after President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Eight countries, including India, had been allowed to temporarily import oil from Iran, but the United States decided not to renew the waiver after it expired in May.

The envoy also accused the US of indulging in “terrorist acts” by applying economic sanctions on various countries.

“I am calling US of being a state terrorist against Cuba, Venezuela and Iran… They will isolate themselves,” he claimed.

Earlier last week, Tehran rejected as ‘baseless’ the allegation of being a sponsor of terrorism made against the Islamic nation by Mike Pompeo during a joint press conference with Jaishankar in New Delhi.

Pompeo had described Iran as the largest state sponsor of terror while pointing out that the Indian people have suffered from the menace across the globe.

(With PTI inputs)