Amid US-Iran stand-off, Modi and Iranian President set for bilateral

Amid US-Iran stand-off, Modi and Iranian President set for bilateral

Agency News

NewYork, Sep 26: Amid stand-off between the US and Iran, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are set for a crucial bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the High Level segment of United Nations General Assembly session here on Thursday.

The meeting would come within days US President Donald Trump making a blistering attack against Iran at the UNGA and also in presence of Mr Modi on Tuesday. The meeting will also happen after Prime Minister Modi met Mr Trump twice in last few days - first at the 'Howdy, Modi' rally on Sunday at Houston and then for a bilateral meeting in New York on Tuesday.

External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar met his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on Tuesday in New York but talking to reporters later, MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar declined to share details of the parleys.

"I do not have the details now, as and when I get details but let me tell you that there are certain aspects of bilateral meetings which we will not share publicly," Mr Kumar has said.

"You see there are certain discussions taking place but I will not get into details of each and every point which has been discussed," Mr Kumar has said.

However, Dr Jaishankar had tweeted - "Good catching up with FM of Iran Javad Zarif on UNGA 74 margins. A very useful exchange of perspectives on regional developments. Agreed to stay in touch".

India has always given emphasis to its ties with Iran. Earlier this month, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale has led the Indian delegation for Foreign Office Consultations.

Mr Gokhale also held talks with his counterpart Deputy Foreign Minister Syed Abbas Araghchi. During the Consultations, the two sides reviewed entire range of bilateral cooperation, ongoing connectivity and infrastructure development projects including development of Shahid Behesthi Port, Chabahar and full operationalization of the Trilateral Transit Agreement (Chabahar Agreement) between India, Iran and Afghanistan.

On November 5, 2018, the United States re-imposed the tough 'sanctions' on Iran that were waived under a special law. The new sanctions are regarded as the toughest ever imposed on Iran, and targeted critical sectors of its economy, including energy, shipping, shipbuilding and financial.

China has been reluctant to abide by the US sanctions and remains committed to many projects in Iran. On September 5, during his visit to Vladivostok in Russia, Mr Modi had affirmed that New Delhi has been depending on Iran for fuel and energy security but in view of changing developments, all precautionary steps had been taken to ensure safety and security of Indian tankers.

"It is true India has been mostly dependent on Iran for energy security. But in view of developments there lately and to ensure that there is no side effect on us, we have taken all necessary steps," the Prime Minister has said sharing stage with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japan's Shinzo Abe, among others.

New Delhi was forced to turn to other sources than Iran for energy after the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Tehran's oil exports. India was one of the eight countries that was granted a waiver that allowed it to keep purchasing oil from Tehran, but that reprieve has now expired.

Before sitting for bilateral talks with Prime Minister Modi here on Tuesday, President Trump made remarks against Iran. At Houston, Mr Trump had pledged to fight radical Islamic terrorism. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday ruled out negotiations with the United States.

"The United States must lift economic pressures that made it difficult for his country to procure even basic medicines," he has said. (UNI)