Face to face: Mr Javed Zarif, Foreign Minister Iran
Interview of Mr Javed Zarif, Foreign Minister of Iran to CNN-IBN Foreign Affairs Editor Suhasini Haidar on February 28,2014
SH: Hello and Welcome to this exclusive interview on CNN-IBN. With me, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javid Zarif. India owes Iran nearly 5 billion dollars for oil imports, Iran has been seeking some of that payment. Tell us how your talks went?
JZ: I have just started these talks and they are focused on a lot of things. There are a whole range of possibilities for cooperation between Iran and India, economically as well as politically and multilaterally. We expect our Indian friends to repatriate that money in one way or another- since there is a lot of trade that can happen between the two countries, humanitarian trade is also an area India can pay for those oil purchases. We want this money, and our economic cooperation with India in the area of energy to boost the relationship between the two countries and not be an impediment to our relations, and we are sure that with goodwill, we will provide a resolution,
SH: I ask about oil because last year under pressure from the US, from the international community, India cut its oil imports from Iran by as much as 40%. Was Iran disappointed that such an old friend did not go through with the purchases?
JZ: We were obviously disappointed. We believe Iran provides the most reliable source of energy for our friends and partners, because we are an independent country, we provide the energy, not affected by any political considerations, by any imposition from outside, so Indians can rely on Iranian oil, and natural gas. So it is detrimental to the economy of our trading partners if they decide to cut their purchases from Iran because of pressure from the United States. It is not in their interests, and we hope that we can resume that cooperation, and we are working with many forces including P5+1 to put an end to any excuse to any impediments to our trade with others, which we believe are illegal to begin with
SH: But has India given you any assurance that oil imports will go up? They have increased in January…..
JZ: Yes, it has gone up a bit in the past month, and we hope it will continue to go up, because we believe, as I said, India is a growing economy, you have a major need for sources of energy, Iran is probably the most reliable provider for it.
SH: To speak about our neighbours- India and Iran have a common neighbour in Pakistan, but also a common concern over Afghanistan. Given the US pullout, given elections, given the fact that Pakistan is now in talks with the Taliban, what kind of cooperation can India and Iran speak about?