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Amidst escalating tension with the US, Iran’s Foreign Minister to meet Modi, Jaishankar

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 14, 2020 Published on January 14, 2020

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif   -  AFP

Zarif among a dozen Foreign Ministers who will participate in the Raisina Dialogue beginning in New Delhi on Tuesday

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar in New Delhi and interact with businesses in Mumbai this week during his four-day India visit.

Zarif is visiting India to participate in the Raisina Dialogue which kicked-off on Tuesday with a discussion on global issues between former Heads of Government from countries such as Canada, South Korea, New Zealand and Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister attended the inaugural session of the multilateral talks but did not address the gathering.

The Iranian Minister will also deliver his address at the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi on Wednesday, which will be attended by as many as a dozen Foreign Ministers including from Russia, Iran, Australia, Maldives, South Africa, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Latvia, Uzbekistan and the EU.

“The Dialogue has been India’s contribution to global efforts to discover solutions, identify opportunities and provide stability to a century that has witnessed an eventful two decades,” according to a statement from the MEA. The conference, which is in its fifth year, will host 700 participants from more than 100 countries.

Zarif, who is visiting India for the first time after Iran’s military commander Qassem Soleimani was killed in a drone strike carried out by the US earlier this month, is expected to discuss the future of bilateral trade and economic relationship with India in the light of rising tension between the Islamic nation and Washington, according to sources close to the development.

Jaishankar spoke to Zarif on the phone on January 5 expressing deep concern at the level of tension following the attack that killed Soleimani.

“Just concluded a conversation with FM @JZarif of Iran. Noted that developments have taken a very serious turn. India remains deeply concerned about the levels of tension. We agreed to remain in touch,” he tweeted after his conversation.

New Delhi stopped buying oil from Iran last year to adhere to economic sanctions announced against the country by the US on grounds that the country was proliferating weapons of mass destruction. India however, continues to develop and operate the ambitious Chabahar port with Iran and Afghanistan that connects the three countries.

India-Iran trade declined significantly in the first eight months of the on-going fiscal to $3.5 billion. In 2018-19, bilateral trade was valued at $17 billion, a bulk of which comprised oil imports from Iran.

Washington announced fresh economic sanctions against Iran last week on metals after the country’s retaliatory attacks on US targets in Iraq and warned that more were to come.

 

Published on January 14, 2020
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