During his three day visit to India, Iranian Foreign Minister Dr Hossein Amir-Abdollahian discussed various issues, including the Chabahar Port and the row over Prophet Muhammad.
The Iranian delegation along with Foreign Minister Dr Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, is on a three day visit to India, during which he is holding talks with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The leaders have discussed a number of topics so far that could strengthen bilateral ties between both the countries.
The Iranian foreign minister’s visit comes shortly after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors met in Vienna. The board strongly condemned Iran for denying the presence of nuclear material found at some undeclared sites.
In turn, Iran switched off two of the United Nations’ cameras that kept an eye on the Uranium enrichment surveillance, and intended to check one of the nuclear sites. Iran has denied any hidden or undocumented nuclear activities or sites.
The country has now turned to its long-term ally India, amidst the ruckus regarding the nuclear deals. Iran’s foreign minister recently tweeted that a “good, strong and lasting” nuclear deal would have been accomplished if the US and the E3 countries (France, Germany and Italy) were “realistic”. He also added, “The countries will be themselves responsible for any failed or anti-Iran resolution at IAEA.”
The US claims that the demands put forth by the Iranian delegates are acting as a hindrance in reviving the 2015 nuclear deal – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In 2018, the Trump government withdrew from the Iranian Nuclear deal which was initiated in 2015, following which it also imposed major sanctions on the country. The matter has been worsening ever since.
Israel claims that Iran is possibly capable of building four nuclear bombs under its “peaceful programme”. On the other hand, Iran says that it is not pursuing a weapons programme. International agencies seek to keep an eye on Iran’s nuclear programme, and ask for concessions on not developing nuclear arms in turn for removing the sanctions.
There are two theories that conclude the Iranian nuclear deal. One suggests that if Iran acquires this deal it could lead to utter chaos in the middle-eastern region. Another theory suggests that the deal can remove Iran’s rivalry with countries like Israel and Saudi Arabia.
The Prophet Row
During his meeting with Indian NSA Doval, the Iranian foreign minister discussed the controversy over comments made on Prophet Muhammad, before moving on to business. The Iranian delegation demanded that the Indian government take action against the people who made the derogatory remarks. Earlier, Iran, along with Qatar and Kuwait, summoned the respective Indian ambassadors after former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma allegedly hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims across the world, with her statements.
Doval assured Dr Amir-Abdollahian that the ministers involved were suspended. Consequently, Iran is satisfied with the action taken by India. However, in a press interaction, the Iranian delegation stated that Doval has assured that the culprits will be dealt with. “Ajit Doval reaffirmed the Indian government and officials’ respect for the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), saying offenders will be dealt with, at the government and related bodies levels, in such a way that others will learn a lesson,” they said.
However, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi has denied any such assurance to the Iranian delegation. “My understanding is that this issue was not raised during that conversation,” he said in a press conference. Bagchi further said, “We have made it pretty clear that tweets and comments do not reflect views of (the) government. This has been conveyed to our interlocutors as also the fact that action has been taken by the concerned quarters against those who made the comments and tweets. I really do not have anything additional to say on this.”
Discussions regarding the development of the Chabahar Port also ensued. The port will supposedly be a transit hub for Central Asian regions. It is a crucial project for India, to gain access to the landlocked Afghanistan via sea.
Officials stated that the delegations will soon hold a meeting to discuss the operational aspects of the key port, which will prove to be beneficial for landlocked countries in Central Asia to reach India and the global market.
Further, both delegations are also looking for the possibility of settling the trade at Chabahar Port through the Indian rupee or barter system. The Iranian foreign minister reiterated, “India and Iran have surveyed the possibilities of settling trade transactions in rupee or through a barter system, along with discussing a need to establish a banking mechanism.”
Reportedly, Dr Amir-Abdollahian and Dr Jaishankar talked about numerous issues that affect India-Iran ties. The Iranian minister informed Dr Jaishankar about the current situation of the JCPOA, following which both leaders exchanged their views over the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
They also talked about the situation prevailing in Afghanistan under the Taliban rule. Both sides assured their contribution towards providing humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people. They further emphasised on the need for a representative and a fair political system in support of a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan future.
The Ministry of External Affairs, in a press conference, stated that the Indian-Iranian bilateral ties share close civilisational and historical ties. “Our bilateral relations are marked by strong linkages across institutions, culture and people to people ties,” stated the MEA.