The European Union has sought India's help to bring defiant Iran to the negotiating table even as it justified the fresh sanctions imposed on Iran by the US and its allies.
During talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said strong sanctions are also needed to punish Iran for its controversial nuclear programme.
He, however, said the EU agreed with India that diplomacy should be given ''maximum scope'' in resolving the issue.
''We will share, I think, our deep concern on the Iranian nuclear programme, and will ask Prime Minister Singh to use India's leverage towards Iran to help bring Tehran back to the negotiating table,'' Van Rompuy said at the 12th India-EU summit in New Delhi today.
India, which is seeking to increase trade and barter arrangements to pay for oil supplies, thinks that it has nothing to do with the US-backed move to isolate Iran.
India continues to import oil from Iran, which is its second largest supplier of crude.