Afghan President, Indian PM Due in Iran for Signing Trilateral MoU
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani is planned to pay a visit to Tehran early next week.
Ghani will arrive in the Iranian capital on Monday morning for a one-day official visit.
He will make the trip to attend a ceremony for signing a trilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Iran, Afghanistan and India on the development of the southeastern Iranian port city of Chabahar.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is scheduled to arrive in Iran on Sunday, will also be present at the ceremony.
This will be Ghani’s second official visit to Iran since taking office in September 2014 but Modi will be visiting Iran for the first time.
The Afghan leader will leave Tehran after the ceremony but the Indian premier will stay for talks with senior Iranian officials on development of bilateral ties.
In 2003, Iran and India agreed to develop the Port of Chabahar which sits on the Gulf of Oman.
The project was, however, suspended following the imposition of sanctions against Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program.
In May 2014, India and Iran signed an MoU to jointly develop the port once the international sanctions against Iran were terminated. Sanctions against Iran were lifted after Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany) on January 16 started implementing a nuclear agreement they had finalized on June 14, 2015.
The Chabahar route will allow Indian goods to reach Afghanistan via the Iranian port of Chabahar without crossing Pakistan’s territory.
Chabahar is located in the Gulf of Oman on the border with Pakistan. It is the closest and best access point of Iran to the Indian Ocean and Iran has devised serious plans to turn it into a transit hub for immediate access to markets in the northern part of the Indian Ocean and Central Asia.