Top Iran, India Diplomats Discuss Relations, Region
EghtesadOnline: Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who has traveled to Tehran on a two-day visit, met his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on Sunday and discussed the latest developments in bilateral ties as well as key regional and international issues.
The two diplomats held a face-to-face meeting before co-chairing the 19th session of Iran-India Economic Commission.
Zarif later expressed satisfaction with the meeting on his Twitter account, Financial Tribune reported.
"A pleasure to co-chair 19th Joint Commission Meeting w/ India’s External Affairs Minister @DrSJaishankar in Tehran. Excellent discussions on closer bilateral relations & regional & global issues affecting our respective countries. Our ties are ancient, historic & unbreakable," he tweeted.
India is Iran's major trade partner and was among the key importers of Iranian oil before the United States imposed sanctions on Iran last year following its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.
Washington, however, granted a waiver to India from sanctions on the Chabahar project in Iran, a $85 million lease agreement that gives operational control of Shahid Beheshti Port (phase one of the Chabahar Port in southeastern Iran) to India.
Iran and India signed the agreement in 2018 in the presence of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
Chabahar Port, which provides an alternative route for trade between India and Afghanistan, is located near the Sea of Oman. In 2017, India sent its first shipment of wheat to Afghanistan through the strategic Iranian port.
A senior US State Department official had said following an India-US ministerial dialogue on Wednesday that Washington has provided a "narrow exemption" on the Chabahar project because it plays a vital role in transporting India's humanitarian supplies to war-torn Afghanistan.
"We have provided a narrow exemption for the development of Chabahar, which allows for the construction of the port and the railroad for the export of refined oil products to Afghanistan," the official had said, according to Business Standard.
The Indian diplomat's visit to Iran comes a few days after the two countries, along with Afghanistan, held the second follow-up committee meeting for the implementation of the trilateral Chabahar agreement in New Delhi.
At the meeting on Friday, all the three countries welcomed steady progress in port operations by India Ports Global Ltd Company since taking over the Shahid Beheshti Port operations, a statement by India's Ministry of External Affairs said.
Jaishankar was set to meet President Hassan Rouhani and Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani on the second day of his trip.