External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Wednesday held talks with her Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on a range of key bilateral and regional issues, including the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan and the implementation of the Chabahar port project. Zarif, at an interaction on the sidelines of the Raisina Dialogue, said Iran is working with its traditional partners like India, Russia and China on moving forward after the US pullout of the nuclear deal despite assurances from European nations that they will work out a solution on the issue.
During the talks, Zarif and Swaraj deliberated on important bilateral issues and shared perspectives on the regional situation, according to External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar. It is learnt that India’s import of crude oil from Iran, implementation of the Chabahar port project and the situation in Afghanistan figured in the talks.
The situation arising out of the US withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal was also discussed, sources said. Iran is a strategically-important country for India in the Gulf region and ties between the two nations were on an upswing in the last couple of years.
In November, the United States provided temporary exemption to India along with a number of other countries from sanctions on import of Iranian oil. Iran is India’s third-largest oil supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Iran supplied 18.4 million tonnes of crude oil between April 2017 and January 2018 (first 10 months of fiscal 2017-18).
India is also an active partner in development of the Chabahar port in Iran. In May 2016, India, Iran and Afghanistan had inked a pact which entailed the establishment of transit and transport corridor among the three countries using Chabahar Port as one of the regional hubs.