Can’t forget support India gave us during difficult times, Iran says
By Times of India
first visit to India after the nuclear agreement freed Iran from global
sanctions, Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif held discussions with
the Indian leadership on the ISIS threat, energy investments and
development of Chahbahar port.
Speaking to journalists later, Zarif said India and Iran are talking about investing in each other's energy sector. He said India is an important player in West Asia and can play a leading role in the region.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi "conveyed India's commitment to work with
Iran for development of the Chabahar port that would have far reaching
benefit, not only for the people of India and Iran, but also for
Afghanistan and the entire Central Asia region," a PMO statement said.
Zarif said Iran considered India its "strategic partner and cannot
forget the support India extended to Iran during its difficult times",
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External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said she raised the issue of
imprisonment of 9 Indians in Iranian jails on charges of smuggling.
After her meeting with Zarif, Swaraj tweeted, "I had a good meeting with
Foreign Minister of Iran. I raised the issue of nine Indian sailors
detained in Iran. I requested him for waiver of $2.9 million fine
imposed on them and for their early release." However, signaling that
the resolution would need a quid pro quo, Zarif said it was equally
important to look at the Iranians imprisoned in India.
Chahbahar occupied a lot of discussions both with the PM and Shipping
Minister Nitin Gadkari. India will invest just under $100 million on the
port, which India believes is key for its connectivity with Central
Asian countries. When Modi met Iranian Prime Minister Hassan Rouhani in
Ufa, both leaders spoke about increasing Indian investments in Iran.
India also owes Iran almost $6 billion in oil payments. Questioned about
it, Zarif said, "There is no lack of political will, we are working
through some of the modalities."
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Describing the implications of the nuclear deal, Zarif said it was
"mutually beneficial". "We gained recognition for our peaceful nuclear
programme," he said. "It's a major achievement for diplomacy, because
negotiation and dialogue triumphed over pressure and coercion."
Zarif said Iran and India would cooperate against the deadly forces of
Islamic State (ISIS). He said this should be looked upon as a common
threat though "some countries in our region" are using ISIS as an
opportunity to secure tactical gains, a reference to Saudi Arabia and
Qatar where many have supported the radical outfit. "There should be
some soul-searching in western countries about how it is that young men
and women brutally killing innocent people are speaking in English and
French with native accents," he said. Europe and the US have been seeing
a veritable exodus of young men and women who are going to Iraq and
Syria to join ISIS.
READ ALSO: Iran says it offers India bigger role in strategic port
MEA spokesman Vikas Swarup said in the energy sector, the aim is to
move from the existing buyer-seller relationship to a genuine energy
partnership involving both upstream and downstream. "We want Iran to
regain its share of India's oil imports and we expect Iran to also make
efforts to help promote participation of Indian companies. In this
context, there was a discussion on Farzad B. An Indian company (OVL) had
successfully discovered the field and it is our expectation that it
will get the opportunity to develop it," the spokesman said.
"Proposals were also made to move ahead rapidly on a preferential
trading agreement, and a business-to-business platform," he said.
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