Iranian Foreign Minister briefs Sushma on current developments in region


May 14, 2019
New Delhi: Amid the growing tension with the US, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Tuesday briefed External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on his country’s approach to the recent developments in the region, including on Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action(JCPOA).

At the meeting which took place at his own initiative, Mr Zarif recalled the steps announced by President Rouhani on 8th May including decisions linked to the export of enriched material and heavy water, underlining that 60 days timeline has been given to EU-3 and other parties to JCPOA for restoring the oil and banking channels, sources said here.

This was part of their consultation with other countries in the region including Russia, China, Turkmenistan, and Iraq over the last few days, he said.

Reiterating India’s position on JCPOA, Ms Swaraj conveyed to her Iranian counterpart that India would like all parties to the agreement to continue to fulfill their commitments and all parties should engage constructively and resolve all issues peacefully and through dialogue.

On purchase of oil from Iran, Ms Swaraj reiterated the position that a decision will be taken after the elections keeping in mind India’s commercial considerations, energy security and economic interests.

Both sides expressed satisfaction at the operationalization of the interim contract on the Chabahar Port between India Ports Global Limited (IPGL) and Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO).

The two foreign ministers also shared their views on the situation in Afghanistan and agreed to maintain close coordination on the evolving situation.

The visit took place in the backdrop  of the  US  announcement that it would not extend the exemptions granted in November last year to India and seven other countries for importing oil from the Persian Gulf nation.

The deadline of 180 days, expired on May 2. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, while making the announcement of the end of exemption on April 22, warned that any nation or entity “interacting with Iran should do its diligence and err on the side of caution. The risks are simply not going to be worth the benefits.”

The US, which had reimposed  sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal which was struck in 2015, had  told India and other countries to cut oil imports from the Gulf nation to “zero” by November 4 or face sanctions.

However, Washington had granted a six-month waiver from sanctions to eight countries, including India. India, which is the second biggest purchaser of Iranian oil after China, had agreed to cut its monthly purchase to 1.25 million tonne or 15 million tonne in a year (300,000 barrels per day), down from 22.6 million tonne (452,000 barrels per day) bought in the 2017-18 financial year.I

ran is India’s third largest supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia and meets about 10 per cent of its total needs.

The  situation in the region  grew more tense  after  the US accused  Iran of  preparing some kind of an attack and sent Naval warships, including an aircraft carrier, along with B-52 bombers, to the region.Iran has warned that it would not hesitate from retaliating if attacked.

Significantly, Secretary of  State Pompeo on Monday made an unscheduled visit to Brussels to hold talks with European Union officials on Iran.Pompeo, who had been scheduled to head to Russia, landed in Brussels to discuss pressing issues with EU diplomats, said a US State Department official.

UK Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt spoke in Brussels of the dangers of an accidentally-triggered conflict between the US and Iran over the unraveling of the 2015 nuclear pact signed by Iran, Russia, China, the EU, the UK, France, Germany and the US.”We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident with an escalation that is unintended,” Hunt said it was important not to push Iran back towards re-nuclearization.

The EU has taken a number of measures to counter the sanctions imposed by the US last year to isolate Iran economically.On Monday, a joint statement issued by the High Representative of the European Union and the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the UK said, “we regret the re-imposition of sanctions by the United States following their withdrawal from the JCPoA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). We are determined to continue pursuing efforts to enable the continuation of legitimate trade with Iran, including through the operation

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