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India, Iran discuss ties in wake of US sanctions, threats
International

India, Iran discuss ties in wake of US sanctions, threats

Agency News

New Delhi, May 14: India and Iran on Tuesday discussed all issues concerning their mutual interest and shared views on the evolving situation in the region, including Afghanistan.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif held "constructive discussions on all bilateral issues of mutual interest," MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, adding that both sides had a "good exchange" of views on the evolving regional situation, including Afghanistan.

Earlier arriving in the Indian capital, Zarif said that Tehran and New Delhi have extended relations in various fields and that Iran always consults with its Indian partners. Asked about the main objective of his India trip, he said that India is one of the biggest customers of Iran crude oil and the two countries have designed special financial system to augment trade and economic cooperation.

India stopped purchasing Iranian oil this month in the wake of renewed sanctions by US and withdrawal of waivers to India and seven other nations which were allowed to import some Iranian oil.

Significantly on Monday, US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau for South and Central Asian Affairs, Alice Wells announced that the US has exempted Chabahar Port from the US sanctions. She made the remarks at a meeting with Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani.

Wells had arrived in Kabul on Sunday and held talks with President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah.

Zarif's visit comes amid escalating tension between Tehran and Washington. The US last week announced the deployment of an aircraft carrier battle group and a bomber task force to the Persian Gulf because of “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” related to Iran.

Iran dismissed the allegations and announced it was suspending some of its commitments under the nuclear agreement that Tehran had agreed to in exchange for sanctions relief. Reports also said the US has updated a military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons.

"At a meeting of President Trump’s top national security aides last Thursday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, administration officials said," The New York Times reported on Monday. (UNI)