India wants constructive engagement with Iran after U.S. withdrawal from nuclear deal

India said it wants nations that were party to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to engage constructively with Tehran after the United States withdrew from the pact.

An Indian government statement issued after a meeting of Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj with her Iranian counterpart Javed Zarif said parties involved in the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) , should engage constructively for peaceful resolution of the issues that have arisen with respect to the agreement.

Post the U.S. pullout from the Iran deal, India’s first reaction had been cautious, as its interests in Afghanistan and West Asia are at stake.

JCPOA was signed between Iran and the P5 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — US, China, France, Russia, and the UK), plus Germany and the European Union, in Vienna on July 14, 2015. The deal, aimed at preventing Iran from building a nuclear weapon, involved lifting of international sanctions in return for Tehran curbing its nuclear programme.

But the Trump administration says the deal did not target Iran’s ballistic missile programme, its nuclear activities beyond 2025, and its role in conflicts in Yemen and Syria. The US president called it a “horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made… bring calm, didn’t bring peace, and it never will”.

India had been extremely supportive of the deal when it was signed. In 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had complimented the Iranian leadership on the JCPOA and subsequent developments, and said it represented the “triumph of diplomacy and sagacity”.

“India has always maintained that the Iranian nuclear issue should be resolved peacefully through dialogue and diplomacy by respecting Iran’s right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy as also the international community’s strong interest in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme. All parties should engage constructively to address and resolve issues that have arisen with respect to the JCPOA,” Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said.

Shekhar Ghosh is a communications consultant and and former journalist, who has edited and written for publications such as like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today and Outlook.

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