Prime minister Narendra Modi had a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in parallel with the United Nations general assembly’s 74th session in New York on Thursday. Chabahar port of Iran was the main topic of discussion as India is laying a helping hand to Iran in its development.
“They [the leaders] especially mentioned operationalization of Chabahar Port and noted it’s importance as a gateway to and for landlocked Afghanistan and the Central Asian region,” a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) read.
This meeting holds a special significance as it arrived at a time when the relationship of both countries is going through a rough patch. U.S. applied sanctions on Iran in last November, after it pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an international deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program and because of these sanctions India had to stop orders of Iranian oil in may of this year. India was one of the few countries that were given leeway to import Iranian oil until the month of May.
These sanctions were not to affect the construction and development of Iran’s Chabahar port that would connect India, Afghanistan, and Iran to Central Asia to sideline the port of Pakistan but even then also the progress of Chabahar port has been painfully slow according to Ali Chegeni, Iran’s envoy to India.
”Prime Minister reiterated India’s support for giving priority to diplomacy, dialogue and confidence-building in the interest of maintaining peace, security, and stability in the Gulf region, which is of vital importance for India,” the MEA statement said.
The meeting was held before Mr. Modi’s UNGA address and after Mr. Rouhani’s, in which the Iranian leader had said Iran would not talk to the U.S. unless sanctions were lifted.
Major European countries like France and Germany hoped that a meeting could be arranged between the U.S. and Iran but Mr. Trump left New York shortly after noon on Friday without having met Mr. Rouhani.