Iran offers to assist India in transporting aid to Afghanistan

PAKISTAN still refusing to allow food grains from India to Afghanistan. Iran now offers to help India with transporting wheat, medicines and coronavirus vaccinations to Afghanistan, which is currently in serious humanitarian crisis.

According to the Iranian foreign minister, Hossein Abdollahian (Iran Foreign Minister) made the offer during a telephone conversation with S Jaishankar (External Affairs Minister) on Saturday.

Amir Abdollahian called for the formation in Kabul of an inclusive government, according to the Iranian foreign ministry.

“Regarding Afghanistan, Amir Abdollahian stressed the need to form an inclusive government in the country. He also referred to India’s humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, announcing measures and cooperation by the Islamic Republic of Iran to transfer this aid in the form of wheat, medicine and COVID-19 vaccine to the country,” it said in a statement.

This was a day following Friday’s delivery by India of two tons of vital life-saving medicines in Afghanistan. This is the third humanitarian aid consignment to Afghanistan since Taliban took control.

India had recently provided Afghanistan with 5 lakh doses COVID vaccine and 1.6 ton of medical assistance through the World Health Organization.

India has yet to deliver the 50,000 tonnes of wheat it promised to Afghanistan. The modalities for transporting the aid through Pakistan to Afghanistan are still being negotiated with Islamabad.

India has the option to send aid to Afghanistan via Iran’s Chabahar port.

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

“A wide-ranging conversation with my Iranian colleague, FM @Amirabdolahian. Discussed the difficulties of Covid, challenges in Afghanistan, prospects of Chabahar and complexities of the Iranian nuclear issue,” Jaishankar tweeted on Saturday.

The Iranian foreign ministry said Jaishankar also referred to his country’s assistance to Afghanistan and that India’s policy on that country remained the same.

India has been in touch Iran about the developments in Afghanistan after it was taken over by the Taliban on Aug 15.

Two months ago, Iran’s National Security Advisor had attended a conclave in India about the Afghan crisis. The conclave was also attended the NSAs of Russia and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan. Tajikistan. Turkmenistan, Uzkistan.

According to the Iranian foreign ministry, Amir-Abdollahian had exchanged views on important bilateral, regional, and international issues with Jaishankar.

“In response to the Indian foreign minister’s question about the latest situation in the fight against the coronavirus in Iran, Amir-Abdollahian referred to the good trend of the nationwide vaccination in the Islamic Republic,” it said.

It noted that the Iranian foreign minister “positively assessed” the fight against COVID-19 in Iran and said, “We have been able to properly contain the virus, and so far 89 per cent of people have been vaccinated and are receiving a third dose of vaccine.”

On the Vienna talks over lifting the sanctions on Iran, the Iranian foreign minister stressed that the discussions are going in the “right direction”.

“We have the necessary will to reach a good agreement in good faith, and if the Western side also has this goodwill and determination, we can reach a good agreement,” the Iranian foreign ministry quoted Amir-Abdollahian as saying.

In 2015, Iran and several world powers, including the EU, reached a nuclear deal. It was aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions. In May 2018, the US pulled out of the agreement and imposed sanctions against Iran. New efforts are underway to restore the agreement.

The Iranian foreign ministry said Jaishankar also referred to India’s fight against the pandemic and noted that though the number of cases was rising, vaccination was moving at a good speed.

“He expressed pleasure with the forthcoming visit of Iran’s top diplomat to India and called it a very good opportunity to develop bilateral cooperation,” it added.

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