Iran FM visit to India paves way for closer cooperation


India’s Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid says New Delhi will always support Tehran’s right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in line with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

In a meeting with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in New Delhi on Friday, Khurshid praised the implementation of the nuclear deal clinched between Iran and the P5+1 in Geneva last November.

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — Russia, China, France, Britain and the United States — plus Germany inked an interim deal on Tehran’s nuclear energy program in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 24 last year. The Geneva agreement took effect on January 20.

Iran and the six countries wrapped up their latest round of nuclear negotiations in Vienna, Austria, on February 20 and are set to meet again in the Austrian city on March 17 to continue their talks.

The negotiations are aimed at reaching a final agreement to fully resolve the decade-old dispute over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program. The Indian minister further said Iran is an influential country in the region and can contribute to regional peace and stability.

There was an understanding that huge opportunities exist to enhance the relationship. Connectivity was a major issue of discussion including the International North South Transport Corridor, which will enable reduction in travel time by 40 per cent for freight between India, Afghanistan, Central Asia and Russia via Iran. It was also agreed that, joint consular committee can meet at an early date to address issues of a consular nature. Regional issues discussed included Afghanistan, developments in the Middle East and the P5 plus One discussions with Iran.

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