New Delhi: New Iran President Dr Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi told India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar that his country “we will take new steps in the development of Tehran-New Delhi ties”. EAM Jaishankar is in Tehran for the oath-taking ceremony of the new President, his second visit to the country in the matter of one month. Last month, he was the first foreign minister to call on the Raisi after his victory in June elections.
Emphasising, “Iran attaches special importance to establishing extensive relations with India”, the President said, “From today on, we should take new and distinct steps in the development of bilateral, regional and international relations with a new perspective”.
Iran is important for India on connectivity and to fullfill energy needs. Chabahar port in Iran is key to New Delhi’s connectivity plans towards its west. The port, where India has invested provides connectivity to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
During the meet on Friday, Raisi said that the “Iranian government will pursue a policy of developing relations with neighbouring countries and the region, especially India”, explaining, “There are various sectors, especially in the economic and commercial fields, as well as new technologies, that we should use to promote the level of our relations”.
India-Iran commercial ties were traditionally dominated by Indian import of Iranian crude oil. In 2018-19 India imported US$ 12.11 bn worth of crude oil from Iran. But following the end of the Significant Reduction Exemption (SRE) period on May 2, 2019, India had suspended importing crude from Iran.
During the talks, Afghanistan was also discussed between the two sides. The new Iran President told EAM Jaishankar, “Iran and India can play a constructive and useful role in ensuring security in the region, especially Afghanistan” and “Tehran welcomes the New Delhi’s role in establishment of security in Afghanistan”.
During July meet as well, Afghanistan had dominated the talks between the two sides. During Friday’s talks, the Iran President highlighted that the “fate of Afghanistan must be decided by the Afghans themselves, and we believe that if the Americans do not sabotage the situation, this issue will be resolved quickly”.