India, Iran agree to keep wary Saudi Arabia engaged

Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh (right) with Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Rahimpour in New Delhi on Monday.  

Iran and India have agreed on the need to keep Saudi Arabia engaged in order to remove its misgivings about Tehran’s interim understanding with the six global powers reached in Geneva early on Sunday.

At meetings with National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, visiting Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Rahimpour also clarified his country’s position on involving India in modernisation and development of the Chah-bahar port.

Mr. Rahimpour, recently appointed Iranian Foreign Ministry’s top official responsible for Asia and Pacific affairs, took the opportunity of prearranged Foreign Office consultations to acquaint Indian officials with the finer points of the agreement between Iran and the six powers.

Government sources here say the impression that things will immediately begin easing on the India-Iran energy front appears to be misplaced. Most of the key sanctions aimed at oil and shipping and curbs on banking and financial transactions will remain in place for a minimum of six months or could be partially lifted earlier if the proposed Joint Commission between Iran and the six nations is set up and makes progress on some of the aspects agreed upon in the interim agreement.

With Saudi Arabia fearing that Iran might emerge as the predominant regional power, Tehran and New Delhi want friendly powers to allay its fears. Riyadh has announced its intention not to join the United Nations Security Council as a temporary member and there are apprehensions about its throwing a spanner in the works — the new balance of power emerging in the region.

Official sources in the Ministry of External Affairs said the visiting Deputy Minister provided a briefing to the Foreign Secretary on the scenario in the region in the light of the Interim Agreement between Iran and E3 plus 3 and outlined the prospects of moving forward in the evolving situation. They also discussed various possibilities of furthering bilateral economic cooperation, particularly the Chah-bahar project in which India has evinced keen interest.

Following the meeting, Mr. Rahimpour called on the External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid. Mr. Rahimpour has switched places with Seyyed Abbas Aragchi as the India pointman among Iran’s five Deputy Foreign Ministers. Mr. Aragchi has joined the Iranian nuclear negotiating team but Mr. Rahimpour is no stranger to India as he has earlier served here as Iranian Ambassador.

The article has been corrected for factual error.


The opening sentence read: ‘Iran and India have agreed … to remove its misgivings about Tehran’s interim understanding with the six global powers reached in Vienna …” It should have been Geneva.

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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 4:26:34 PM |

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