Iran Minister eyes trade beyond oil

Javad Zarif is in India as part of a "briefing tour" to speak about the Chabahar port development project .

Updated - March 29, 2016 03:05 pm IST

Published - August 14, 2015 03:34 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Investment in infrastructure, oil imports and ironing out troubles over the planned Chabahar port development project are on the agenda as Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif meets the government in Delhi on Friday.

Mr. Zarif, who successfully negotiated the nuclear deal with the P-5 and EU countries, is in India as part of a “briefing tour” to speak about the deal.

He will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari. Mr. Zarif will also call on Vice-President Hamid Ansari, who had served as Ambassador to Iran from 1990-1992.

Officials said Mr. Zarif’s visit would serve as a “follow-up” to the meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Prime Minister Modi on the sidelines of the Ufa SCO summit in July.

“The dual focus of their negotiations was to turn the India-Iran buyer-seller relationship into a real partnership, while bringing diversity to our economic ties,” a senior official told The Hindu . To that end, India and Iran will look to discuss investment in each other’s countries after all U.N. and Western sanctions are lifted.

In particular, Iran is keen on Indian expertise and investment in rebuilding railways, as part of a total of $8 billion in infrastructure projects. “Iran is ready to welcome Indians, even without a bidding process,” Iran’s Ambassador to India Gholamreza Ansari had told The Hindu in an interview last month. Meanwhile, officials said Mr. Modi had told President Rouhani that India was keen for Iran to also invest in India’s proposed $1 trillion infrastructure development.

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