FM Zarif hails India as important political, economic partner

TEHRAN, May 14 (MNA) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Mon. hailed the friendly relations with India, saying Tehran will always consult with its Indian partners in different politico-economic fields.

Zarif made the remarks upon his arrival in Indian capital for a two-day official visit to the country.

“India is one of our most important partners - economic, political and regional. We've regular consultations with India on various issues and I'm here to have consultations with my counterpart on most recent developments in the region as well as our bilateral relations,” the Iranian diplomat added.

Noting that India is one of the biggest customers of Iran crude oil, Zarif said Tehran and New Delhi have always tried to develop ties in different fields, and to do so, "the two sides have designed a special financial system to augment trade and economic cooperation."

Zarif also pointed to the heightened tensions between the United States and Iran, saying, “unfortunately, the United States has been escalating the situation unnecessarily.”

“We do not seek escalation, but we have always defended ourselves,” he reiterated.

India is hosting the Iranian foreign minister in a bid to find a way forward to maintain its strategic partnership with Iran following US decision against renewing waivers for importing oil from Tehran.

Zarif is scheduled to hold talks with his counterpart Sushma Swaraj on options to maintain energy and strategic partnership, Economic Times reported.

India will also discuss with Zarif the status of the nuclear deal after Tehran announced last week to revisit certain aspects of the deal in the face of lack of commitments from the other signatories to the agreement.

Iran is India's sole gateway via land to Afghanistan and provides shorter route to Central Asia and Eastern Russia via Chabahar Port.

Besides, the International North-South Transit Corridor (INSTC), currently under negotiations, will connect Mumbai with St Petersburg in a shorter time period via Iran than current transportation link.

MR/IRN83313477

News Code 145242

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