Amid US-Iran heat, Tehran sends its Foreign Minister to New Delhi for talks

Zarif and Swaraj are also likely to discuss the future of the Chabahar port project because the Trump administration has assured that exemption on Chabahar will continue.

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With the US ending sanctions exemption to India for importing Iran oil after May 1, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is reaching India late Monday night and will meet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Tuesday.

Zarif is making the trip three weeks after President Donald Trump decided to squeeze Iran, announcing that the US will no longer grant sanctions exemption to Iran’s oil customers. The end of the waiver means India cannot import oil from Iran, or else its state-owned or private entities will face US sanctions.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, Zarif is scheduled to meet Swaraj Tuesday morning. Zarif was in Turkmenistan on Sunday and Monday.

The two sides are likely to discuss the impact of the US decision and how to deal with it.

Zarif and Swaraj are also likely to discuss the future of the Chabahar port project because the Trump administration has assured that exemption on Chabahar will continue.

Sources told The Indian Express that the Iranian oil import issue was flagged during US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s visit last week, but there hasn’t been any sign of flexibility from the US side.

Sources said that Zarif is going to “brief” Swaraj on the impact of the withdrawal of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and its short-term and long-term consequences. This is Zarif’s second visit in 2019, as he had come to India in January this year, and had met the Indian leadership.

The US policy towards Iran, which involved withdrawal from the JCPOA, was announced in May 2018, and all countries were given six months till November to bring down oil imports to zero.

President Trump abandoned the landmark deal between P-5+1 countries and Iran, which was criticised and opposed by the remaining signatories to the pact — UK, France, Germany, China and Russia, and Iran.

Source: Indian Express

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