News ID: 263360
Published: 0252 GMT December 23, 2019

Iran, India need to keep up ties in defiance of US sanctions: Rouhani

Iran, India need to keep up ties in defiance of US sanctions: Rouhani

President Hassan Rouhani said Monday that Iran and India should continue cooperation as the United States targets other nations with sanctions.

"In the current situation where America stands against nations via unilateral sanctions, we have to try to continue bilateral cooperation,” Rouhani told India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in Tehran.

He added that the US will at some point have to abandon its “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran.

"This situation certainly will not last, and America will be forced to end its maximum pressure against Iran sooner or later," Rouhani said, without elaborating.

The US withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions on Tehran as part of its campaign of "maximum pressure" aimed at reducing the Islamic Republic’s regional clout and nuclear program.

During Jaishankar’s two-day visit, Tehran and Delhi have agreed to accelerate the development of an important Iranian port.

"Just concluded a very productive #IndiaIran Joint Commission Meeting," Jaishankar tweeted.

"Reviewed the entire gamut of our cooperation. Agreed on accelerating our Chabahar project," he added after meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday.

Chabahar port – being jointly developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan – is on the Gulf of Oman about 100 kilometers west of the Pakistan border.

But development has stalled, despite waivers to sanctions that the United States began reimposing last year.

The rare exemptions from the sanctions are due mainly to the pivotal role of the port, and a planned railway line, in breaking landlocked Afghanistan's dependence on Pakistan for trade.

Rouhani said Monday that the project would boost trade in the region.

"Completing the Chabahar-Zahedan railway and connecting it to Iran's national railway can elevate the position of Chabahar port, revolutionize regional commerce and help transport goods on a cheaper and shorter route," he said.

Rouhani said maintaining regional security was an important topic for Iran and India.

India stopped buying Iranian oil after the US abolished waivers for some countries in May, in a move meant to cut off the Islamic Republic's main source of revenue.

Despite highs and lows in their relationship, Iran and India have sought to move forward and develop partnerships.


US strategies

Jaishankar also met with secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani. The top security official told Jaishankar that imposing sanctions and fomenting terrorism are two main pillars of US strategy against independent countries.

Mentioning sanctions and terrorism as the two key components of the United States leverage against independent nations, Shamkhani said, “Through collective efforts, we can not only repel these two inhuman threats, but also delineate new horizons for progress by relying on indigenous capabilities of regional countries.”

He added that terrorism and extremism are the main common threats to all regional countries, saying, "Joint cooperation and the establishment of regional mechanisms to counter common threats will prevent foreign countries' intervention [pursued] under the pretext of countering the threat of terrorism."

Shamkhani pointed to historical and cultural commonalities as well as deep-rooted relations between Iran and India and said, "Tehran and New Delhi can play an important role in containing and managing regional crises by strengthening relations at all levels while serving both countries' interests."

The Indian foreign minister, for his part, said bilateral cooperation in the fields of developing Chabahar and creating new infrastructure in the sectors of energy, trade and the transit of goods would significantly contribute to regional economic growth as one of the important necessities for stability and security.



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