In a telephone conversation with the Indian premier on Wednesday, President Rouhani said Tehran is prepared to upgrade the level of ties with New Delhi to that of a strategic partnership.
He also stressed the need for immediate implementation of the agreement the two countries signed during Modi’s visit to Iran in May, particularly a contract to develop Chabahar.
“Iran’s port of Chabahar, which links different countries in the region together, such as India, Afghanistan and Central Asia, is a symbol of cooperation between Tehran and New Delhi,” President Rouhani added.
And Modi, who called the Iranian president to congratulate him on Eid al-Fitr, said India will do its utmost to carry out agreements with Iran, including the one regarding Chabahar.
In 2003, Iran and India agreed to develop the port of Chabahar.
However, the project was suspended following the imposition of sanctions against Iran over its peaceful 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 Tehran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany) on January 16 started implementing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a nuclear agreement they had finalized on June 14, 2015.
The agreement terminated all nuclear-related anti-Iran sanctions.
The Chabahar route will allow Indian goods to reach Afghanistan via Iran 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. Tehran has plans to turn the port into a transit hub for easier access to markets in the northern parts of the Indian Ocean and Central Asia.