EAM Sushma Swaraj holds meeting with Iranian counterpart Zarif

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Media reports said that the Iranian Foreign Minister initiated the dialogue on his own and briefed his Indian counterpart on the developments in the region including economic pressures owing to United States sanctions.

India's foreign ministry says Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif held discussions with Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday on issues of mutual interest, including the evolving situation in Afghanistan.

It is learnt that the issue figured in the talks.

After the exemptions expired on May 2, India said it will deal with the issue based on three factors - the country's energy security, commercial consideration and economic interests.

The Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was inked in 2015 that had then paved the way for lifting of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

The US had told India and other countries to cut oil imports from the Gulf nation to "zero" by November 4 or face sanctions.

The sources said Zarif's visit was his own initiative to brief India on the Iranian approach to recent developments in the region, including the JCPOA accord, and to review bilateral cooperation.

Zarif is making the trip three weeks after President Donald Trump chose to squeeze Iran, announcing that the USA will no longer grant sanctions exemption to Iran's oil customers.

India, Iran's top oil client after China, has by all indications suspended imports of Iranian oil from this month, though there has been no official word. "This was part of their consultation with other countries in the region, including Russia, China, Turkmenistan and Iraq, over the last few days", said a source. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Tehran in May 2016 with an aim to craft a strategic relationship with Iran and expand India's ties with West Asia.

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