EAM Jaishankar meets Iran's Prez-elect in Tehran; hands over personal message of PM Modi

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New Delhi, Jul 7 (PTI) External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday handed over a personal message of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Iran's President-elect Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran as he made a stopover at the Iranian capital on his way to Russia.

Jaishankar said he also held 'useful' discussions on regional and global issues with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

'Thank President-elect Ebrahim Raisi for his gracious welcome. Handed over a personal message from PM @narendramodi. Appreciate his warm sentiments for India,' Jaishankar tweeted.

'Deeply value his strong commitment to strengthen our bilateral ties and expand cooperation on regional and global issues,' he added.

Raisi, the head of Iran's judiciary and known to be close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, won last month's presidential election by a landslide.

'Always a warm welcome from FM @JZarif. Useful discussion on regional and global affairs,' Jaishankar said after his meeting with Zarif.

It is understood that the evolving situation in Afghanistan figured prominently in the talks.

Along with Russia, Iran has been playing a major role in the Afghan peace process that has witnessed a renewed momentum in the wake of the withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan by September 11.

Iranian media reported that the two foreign ministers stressed the need to strengthen intra-Afghan dialogue that could result in a comprehensive political partnership in Afghanistan.

Iran on Wednesday hosted an intra-Afghan dialogue and the Afghan delegation at the talks was headed by Yunus Qanuni, the former foreign minister of Afghanistan. The Taliban delegation was headed by the deputy head of Taliban's political office Shir Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, according to the IRNA news agency.

Afghanistan witnessed a series of terror attacks and attempts by the Taliban to expand its territorial control over the last few weeks, triggering concerns among several key stakeholders.

It is learnt that Jaishankar and Zarif also deliberated on the situation in the Gulf region and the prospect of the Vienna talks on reviving the Iran nuclear deal and the Chabahar port project.

Located in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich Iran's southern coast, the port is being developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan to boost trade ties.

The first phase of the project was inaugurated in December 2017.

A few months back, India, Iran and Uzbekistan held their first trilateral talks to explore ways for a joint use of the port for trade and enhancing regional connectivity. Jaishankar is paying a three-day visit to Russia to discuss the entire range of bilateral issues as well as key regional and international developments.

Sources said his visit is aimed at preparing the ground for the annual India-Russia summit and discuss the situation in Afghanistan. PTI MPB TIR TIR

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