External Affairs Minister Jaishankar holds talks with Iranian FM Javad Zarif

NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on Thursday held extensive talks on fast-evolving situation in the Gulf region in the wake of frayed ties between Iran and the US over killing of Commander Qasem Soleimani. In the meeting over breakfast, Zarif apprised Jaishankar about the overall situation and Tehran’s position over it.

It is learnt that the two ministers also deliberated on various aspects of bilateral ties between India and Iran including progress of the Chabahar port project. The Iranian foreign minister arrived here on Tuesday on a three-day visit in the midst of global focus on escalating tension between Iran and the US following the killing of Soleimani in an American drone strike.

On Wednesday Zarif told PTI that India can play a role in de-escalating tensions in the Gulf region as it is an important regional player In an address at the Raisina Dialogue, he hit out at the Trump adminstration for killing of Soleimani and attributed the action as a “sad reflection of a serious problem in Washington’s thinking”.

“If you are an ignorant-arrogant or an arrogant-ignorant, with power, it brings disaster,” he said on Wednesday, alleging that Soleimani’s killing was a US attempt to unilaterally shape policies in the region. The attack, he said, was “unforgivable”.

India has been maintaining that it would like the situation to de-escalate as soon as possible and the country has been in touch with key players, including Iran, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar, as it has important interests in the region.

Maj Gen Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite al-Quds force, was killed when a US drone fired missiles on his convoy in Iraq on January 3. Last week, Iran launched over a dozen ballistic missiles targeting at least two bases where US military and coalition forces are stationed in Iraq. PTI