Sushma Swaraj holds talks with her Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif, says India only recognises UN sanctions

The US in May 2018 pulled out from the landmark Iran nuclear deal of 2015 under which Tehran had agreed to stop its sensitive nuclear activities in return for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions. Announcing the decision, President Donald Trump had reimposed sanctions against Iran which were suspended after the nuclear deal was finalised three years back.  

Sushma Swaraj holds talks with her Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif, says India only recognises UN sanctions
Pic courtesy: IANS

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday held wide-ranging talks with her Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif. His day-long visit is part of Tehran's efforts to reach out to major world powers after the US pulled out from the landmark nuclear deal of 2015 under which Iran had agreed to stop its sensitive nuclear activities in return for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.

Iran had struck the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) with the US, the UK, Russia, China, France and Germany after years of negotiations. The Iranian Foreign Minister has visited China, Russia and some European countries in the last three weeks after President Donald Trump announced Washington's withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

The MEA said Swaraj and Zarif discussed bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest. Following is the press release by the MEA:

External Affairs Minister met the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, Mr Javad Zarif today. They, inter alia, discussed bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest. The two sides positively assessed the implementation of decisions taken during the visit of President Rouhani to India. These included bilateral cooperation in the areas of connectivity, energy, trade and promotion of people to people contacts. FM Zarif briefed about the discussions that Iran has undertaken with parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action following the US decision to withdraw from the agreement. EAM conveyed that all parties to the agreement should engage constructively for peaceful resolution of the issues that have arisen with respect to the agreement. The other members of the delegation accompanying FM Zarif had separate meetings with their counterparts earlier in the day where they discussed measures for practical cooperation between the two sides.

Earlier, on Monday, Swaraj had said that India will continue trading with Iran and Venezuela despite US sanctions against the two countries, asserting that it only recognises UN restrictions. "We only recognise UN sanctions. We do not recognise any country-specific sanctions," she had said at a press conference. The EAM has made the remarks while responding to a question on whether US sanctions against Iran and Venezuela will hit India's oil imports from the two countries. She had also said that India does not make foreign policy under any pressure from any country.

Iran is India's third-largest oil supplier and there were apprehensions about the possible impact of the US decision on India's oil imports. In February 2018, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had visited India during which both sides agreed to further expand their cooperation in a number of key sectors. During his visit, both sides had signed nine agreements including one on handing over Chabahar port's operation to India for 18 months. According to the MEA, India-Iran bilateral trade during the 2016-17 fiscal was USD 12.89 billion. India imported USD 10.5 billion worth of goods, mainly crude oil, and exported commodities worth USD 2.4 billion. 

(With PTI inputs)

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