Amiti Sen | New Delhi, June 8 |
The country is interested in resuming oil exports to India that stopped in 2019 following US sanctions
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, in a bilateral meeting with his Indian counterpart, S Jaishankar on Wednesday, discussed wide-ranging issues, including strengthening of economic and strategic ties, monitoring the situation in Afghanistan and improving connectivity.
“Our discussions today will reflect our close and friendly relations,” Jaishankar said in a tweet before the talks.
The Iranian Minister, who is on a three-day India visit, is likely to make a case for resumption of crude oil exports to India.
India’s purchase of crude from Iran stopped in mid-2019 following the Trump administration’s renewed sanctions against the Islamic nation. The Biden government has been trying to revive the Iranian nuclear deal, which could lead to the lifting of economic sanctions against the country, but the talks have so far not led to a resolution of the situation.
“Iran is eager to re-start trade with India and export oil. Some discussions have already started between officials of the two countries on various possibilities but things are still fluid. India hopes that the US and Iran are able to resolve matters soon,” a source tracking the matter told BusinessLine.
Iran has been a top exporter of crude to India before the US put a stop to it through its sanctions. Now that the Western countries want countries, including India, to stop buying oil from Russia, there may be an opportunity for Iran to resume its exports.
Abdollahian’s visit is also important as Iran is a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation that strongly criticised India this week over controversial remarks on the Prophet by two BJP leaders. It called on the international community, including the UN, to take action.
The Minister also paid a courtesy call today on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the two discussed ongoing bilateral cooperation initiatives, according to an official release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs. “Prime Minister stressed that both countries should work to accelerate exchanges in the post-COVID era,” it said.
He will also visit Mumbai and Hyderabad over the next two days.
The Chabahar port, being jointly developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan, is another area of keen interest as it is expected to play a key role in improving connectivity between South East Asia and Central Asia.
India and Iran have also been in touch over the developments in Afghanistan after Taliban wrested control over the country last August.