External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Monday, September 23 and commented that the exchange of perspectives on regional developments was very useful. Jaishankar is a part of the Indian contingent which is in New York for the 74th UNGA session. He will also meet Pakistan's Foreign Minister on the margins of the UNGA. "I will meet the Pakistani Foreign Minister on the sidelines of UNGA," Jaishankar had said while briefing the media on 100 days of Modi 2.0 government.
The meeting of Jaishankar with Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif holds importance due to the ongoing US-Iran tension. The United States has been putting pressure on India to impose more sanctions on Iran. Iran was one of the biggest oil suppliers to India but oil trade plummeted in May after continuous pressure from the Trump Administration. In an attempt to reduce Iran's oil exports to zero, US President Donald Trump refused to give waivers to India from buying oil from Iran.
After the sanctions on oil imports, Iran had said that it believes India will act in its national interest on the issue of oil imports and Tehran can act as a "protector" of India's energy security. Ali Chegeni, Iran's Ambassador to India, had asserted that his country can provide 'affordability, accessibility and security' of energy to India. "If Mr Jaishankar said affordability, accessibility, and security of energy, Iran is the only country that can provide all these aspects of energy for India. We expect from a friend... that we understand each other, follow our national interest and Iran is ready for being the protector of energy security of India," Chegeni had said.
The conflict between the US and Iran escalated after the Saudi oil facilities were attacked by Yemen's Houthi rebels. The United States blamed Iran for the drone attack. “Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had tweeted after the attack. "Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen,” he added.