PM Modi arrives in Iran; boosting trade, energy partnership high on agenda

  • PTI, Tehran
  • Updated: May 22, 2016 21:39 IST
PM Narendra Modi receives a red carpet welcome on his arrival in Iran. (Photo: Twitter)

Looking to strengthen trade, investment and energy ties with Iran, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday arrived in Tehran on a two-day visit, during which a crucial agreement is expected to be signed on developing the strategic Chabahar port.

Modi, who is the first Indian Prime Minister having visited Iran in the last 15 years, was received at the Mehrabad International Airport by Iran’s finance and economic affairs minister Ali Tayyebnia, after which he left for a local Gurudwara to meet people of Indian origin.

Formal talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are scheduled for Monday morning after a ceremonial welcome for the Prime Minister. Rouhani will also host a lunch for him.

Modi will also call on Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as well before his return.

Ahead of his arrival, Modi in a series of tweets said, “Enhancing connectivity, trade, investments, energy partnership, culture and people to people contacts would be our priority.”

“My meetings with President Rouhani and Hon’ble Supreme Leader of Iran will provide an opportunity to advance our strategic partnership,” the Prime Minister added.

Besides signing a deal on development of Phase-1 of the Chabahar port, India is looking at doubling oil imports from the Persian Gulf nation, which a few years back was its second-biggest oil supplier, as well as making progress on getting rights to develop a giant gas field in the energy-rich country.

Read: 3-nation Chabahar port pact to be signed as Modi visits Iran next week

India’s Road Transport, highways and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari will also be present there for the signing of the agreement on Chabahar port.

Post-sanctions Iran has seen a flurry of diplomatic and business activities with leaders from China to Korea courting Tehran.

In the run-up to Modi’s visit, transport minister Gadkari, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had visited Tehran.

Stating that he looked forward to the conclusion of the Chahbahar agreement during his visit, the Prime Minister said “India and Iran enjoy civilisational ties and have shared interest in the peace, security, stability and prosperity of the region.”

Read: Govt pays part of Iran’s $4.6bn oil dues ahead of PM Modi’s visit

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