External Affairs Minister Jaishankar holds talks with Iranian FM Javad Zarif

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Updated: January 16, 2020 1:20:13 PM

In a statement, the External Affairs ministry said the two sides exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest, including the recent developments in the region.

In the meeting over breakfast, Zarif apprised Jaishankar about the overall situation and Tehran’s position over it.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on Thursday held extensive talks on the fast-evolving situation in the Gulf region in the wake of frayed Iran-US ties over the killing of Commander Qasem Soleimani. Zarif apprised Jaishankar about the overall situation and Tehran’s position on it in the meeting held over breakfast, officials said. In a statement, the External Affairs ministry said the two sides exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest, including the recent developments in the region.

It said the two sides also deliberated on the Iran nuclear deal of 2015, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The US had pulled out of the JCPOA in 2018. The MEA said Jaishankar reiterated Indian interests in the region and support for efforts to maintain peace, security and stability there. The issue of development of the Chabahar port also figured in talks between Zarif and Jaishankar. “Both leaders recalled positive outcomes of EAM’s recent visit to Tehran for the 19th Joint Commission Meeting, especially for strengthening bilateral trade and promoting connectivity initiative through Chabahar port,” the MEA said.

The Iranian foreign minister arrived here on Tuesday on a three-day visit that comes at a time the global focus is on escalating tensions between Iran and the US following the killing of Soleimani in an American drone strike. Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite al-Quds force, was killed when a US drone fired missiles on his convoy in Iraq on January 3. On Wednesday, Zarif told PTI that India can play a role in de-escalating tensions in the Gulf region as it is an important regional player

In an address at the Raisina Dialogue, he hit out at the Trump adminstration for the killing of Soleimani and said the action was a “sad reflection of a serious problem in Washington’s thinking”. “If you are an ignorant-arrogant or an arrogant-ignorant, with power, it brings disaster,” he said on Wednesday, alleging that Soleimani’s killing was a US attempt to unilaterally shape policies in the region.

The attack, he said, was “unforgivable”. India has been maintaining that it would like the situation to de-escalate as soon as possible and the country has been in touch with key players, including Iran, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar, as it has important interests in the region. Last week, Iran launched over a dozen ballistic missiles targeting at least two bases where US military and coalition forces are stationed in Iraq.

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