Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 27
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Iran and India will boost cooperation on oil and banking, Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif said, the country's IRNA news agency reported on Feb. 27.
Zarif made the remarks after his arrival to India at the New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport. Iranian Foreign Minister is scheduled to hold talks with senior Indian officials during the two-day visit.
Zarif remarked that the India and Iran are main decision-maker countries in the international arena. The foreign minister, who has been invited to India by his Indian counterpart went on to say that the regional and global issues also will be discussed with Indian officials during his visit.
Commenting on the importance of peace and stability in the region, Zarif remarked that extremism, terrorism and the future of the Afghanistan are the main issues which the two sides will discuss.
"Iran and the India also will discuss the latest developments on the Iran and P5+1 negotiations," he added. Iran and the six world powers agreed last week on a framework for negotiations on a comprehensive accord that would allay Western concerns about Iran's nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions. Under a landmark interim deal clinched in Nov. 2013, Iran agreed to curb parts of its nuclear program for six months in exchange for limited sanctions relief. The agreement came into effect on January 20.
Last week, the Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said that the payment of India's oil debts to Iran will be discussed during the visit. She went on to say that the two sides will discuss a wide range of cooperation issues, including energy, economy and transit.
India has significantly reduced its oil imports from Iran since the West imposed harsh economic sanctions on Tehran over its controversial nuclear drive in 2012.
New Delhi currently imports nearly 200,000 barrels of oil per day from Iran.
The sanctions, which include restrictions on financial transactions, have hampered the repatriation of petrodollars from India, which according to Iranian media owes Tehran nearly $5.3 billion for oil shipments.
The India industrial sources have said that the country's refineries have made moves aimed at reviving the previous method for paying Iran's oil money through Turkey's Halk Bank, but Iran probably demands receiving its dept in its own Central Bank account, either in Switzerland, or in Germany, according to Reuters.
Edited by C.N.