Iran Deepens Ties with India, Afghanistan

May 23, 2016
ChabaharOn May 23, Iran signed a trilateral agreement with India and Afghanistan to develop the strategic Chabahar port in southeastern Iran. India pledged to invest up to $500 million in the port, which will expand India’s trade with Iran and other Central Asian countries while bypassing land routes in Pakistan. 
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran to sign the deal. Both leaders also met with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Modi was the first Indian prime minister to visit Iran in 15 years. During his visit, he signed 12 cooperation documents with the Islamic Republic to strengthen bilateral ties in economics, trade, transportation, science, culture, and academia. Before sanctions were tightened in 2012, Iran had been India’s second largest supplier of crude oil. The following are quotes from officials on the Chabahar agreement and Iran’s relations with India and Afghanistan.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
President Hassan Rouhani
On the Chabahar agreement:
“Today, this message is transferred to the region and the world from the side of Tehran, New Delhi and Kabul that progress and development of the countries of the region will gain momentum through joint cooperation and regional opportunities.”
“The symbol of this trilateral cooperation is the word ‘Chabahar’, a spring for the three countries, and by joint investment and activity, we can connect India to Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Caucasus through a safe path.”
“This document is not just an economic document, but rather a political and regional document and its message is that the countries of the region should use the regional opportunities for the region.”
“In this trilateral agreement, there is room for other countries of the region and they can join the document in the future.”
 – May 23, 2016, in a ceremony for signing the Chabahar agreement
Chabahar agreement
Rouhani, Modi, and Ghani sign a trilateral agreement to develop the Chabahar port (via
On relations with India:
“From the viewpoint of the Islamic Republic of Iran, ties with India, as one of the most powerful counties in the region and an emerging economy in the world, is of special significance.”
“Today, in the post-JCPOA era and after the lift of sanctions, there are new opportunities that can be used to develop Iran-India ties that we should make the best use of.”
“A great deal of goods can be transferred from the countries of the region to Central Asia, the Caucasus and Eastern Europe through Chabahar port and Iran welcomes Indian companies’ investment in Chabahar port and Chabahar-Zahedan railway construction.”
“There are good opportunities for cooperation [between Iran and India] in different fields such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, IT and space.”
“Iran can be a trustable source of energy for satisfy India’s needs for oil and gas.”
“Iran’s exports to India should be diversified by planning and effort and the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to participate in different fields of investment in India.”
“Iranian banks are ready to develop relations with major Indian banks at bilateral level and international monetary system.”
“Iran and India have very close cultures and can promote the peaceful Islam, which is based on peaceful coexistence, in the world.”
– May 23, 2016, in a meeting with Indian officials
“Iran’s relations with India has always been of significance and today, strengthening these ties will be beneficial to both nations, as well as the entire region.”
“Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Iran in post-JCPOA and post-sanctions era prepares the ground for further development of economic ties between the two countries.”
“Today, the executive officials of both countries decided to turn the commercial ties between Iran and India into comprehensive economic ties.”
“With regard to the energy capacity in Iran and the large number of mines in India, as well as strategic Chabahar port, we can have greater cooperation in different fields, such as aluminum and petrochemical industries.”
“Regarding the role of banks in the economic ties between the two countries, today we had very important discussions about the ways of organizing relations between banks and we hope that banking facilities can prepare the ground for further economic ties between the two countries."
“India’s advancements in modern technologies, especially ICT, biotechnology and nanotechnology, as well as aerospace, motivated us to agree to develop ties in modern technologies, academic issues and science and technology parks.”
– May 23, 2016, in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Modi
On relations with Afghanistan:
“Afghanistan’s stability, security and development is very important to the Islamic Republic of Iran and we are ready to cooperate in any area with our friend and neighboring country.”
“Without a doubt, despair is one of the factors and root causes of formation and strengthening of terrorism and if the society is hopeful of the future, we can significantly stop terrorism from developing and spreading, as well as production and distribution of narcotics.”
“The document that is going to be signed today by Iran, India and Afghanistan, will be the ground for development of all three countries, as well as the region.”
– May 23, 2016, in a meeting with President Ghani
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Rouhani Modi
Modi and Rouhani sign collaboration documents (via


“Today the world is witnessing a historic event not only for the three countries, but also for the nations of the region.”
– May 23, 2016, in a ceremony for signing the Chabahar agreement
“We seek comprehensive ties with Iran in all fields.”
“Indian companies willing to invest in Chabahar, can have good cooperation with the young population of Iran in the fields of technology, information and nanotechnology.”
“New Delhi is ready to cooperate with Iran in promoting the true Islam and combating terrorism.”
– May 23, 2016, in a meeting with President Rouhani
“The achievements of this meeting and the agreements signed, start a new chapter in strategic cooperation between the two countries and, without a doubt, welfare of the two nations depends on extensive economic cooperation between Iran and India.”
“We will spare no effort for bright Tehran-New Delhi ties.”
– May 23, 2016, in a joint press conference with President Rouhani
"We have agreed to consult closely and regularly on combating threats of terrorism, radicalism, drug trafficking and cyber crime. We have also agreed to enhance interaction between our defense and security institutions on regional and maritime security.”
– May 23, 2016, according to the press
“Connection is a human need and today, we express our deep gratitude for President Rouhani to hosting this great event; economic cooperation is a priority for New Delhi. We all stand with other two countries for the single objective of bringing new ways of success.”
“Iran and India have a record of historical trade and have shared culture and rituals thank to cultural exchanges of the past centuries.”
“We have not cut the ties even in the harshest time of history and today’s meeting will be a new chapter in bilateral cooperation.”
“Chabahar corridor, with participation of three countries, would transform the region in terms of economy and trade routes, setting new trends and eliminating huge barriers to regional trade.”
– May 23, 2016, in a meeting after the signing of the Chabahar agreement
President Ashraf Ghani
Rouhani Ghani
Rouhani and Ghani hold a bilateral meeting (via


“Some countries in the region export terrorism and our three countries’ export is belief, joint cooperation and using regional opportunities for people’s welfare and stability for the region.”
– May 23, 2016, in a ceremony for signing the Chabahar agreement
“Kabul seeks regional cooperation with Iran, in bilateral and multilateral context.”
“Today a significant step in the relations and bilateral and regional cooperation among the three countries will be taken and this transit line will significantly affect regional cooperation.”
– May 23, 2016, in a meeting with President Rouhani
“The Asian continent has been growing in the way to become a great economic pole and to meet the demands of welfare of nations entails regional cooperation; geography is not destiny, but human resolution does change this destiny; today, our wills are strong in Chabahar, with economic, cultural and political development in the horizon.”
– May 23, 2016, in a meeting after the signing of the Chabahar agreement