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Iran Gets New Leader: Implications for India

© AFP 2023 ATTA KENAREIranian reformist candidate Masoud Pezeshkian raises his fist as he arrives for his campaign rally at a stadium in Tehran on July 3, 2024.
Iranian reformist candidate Masoud Pezeshkian raises his fist as he arrives for his campaign rally at a stadium in Tehran on July 3, 2024. - Sputnik India, 1920, 08.07.2024
Masoud Pezeshkian won the presidential polls, which took place after the death of sitting President Ebrahim Raisi's death in a helicopter crash last month. Sputnik India analyzes what this means for New Delhi.
The Chabahar Port, which connects India to Russia and Eastern Europe through the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) via Iran, will remain the bedrock of the India-Iran strategic partnership, an academic has said.

"One of the important pillars of India and Iran relations is connectivity through the Chabahar Port that gives India access to Afghanistan and Central Asia and also links it with Russia and Eastern Europe through the INSTC. This would remain a fundamental bedrock of bilateral relations as for both Iran and India, the Chabahar Port is an important point of bilateral cooperation," Md. Muddassir Quamar, a professor at the Centre for West Asian Studies of India's premier Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) told Sputnik India on Monday.

Earlier this year, India and Iran signed an agreement wherein the former would manage the cargo and container terminal of the Chabahar Port for 10 years starting in 2024.
Besides that India has committed to invest $250 million in infrastructure development in Iran. Of the $250 million, $120 million has been earmarked for the expansion of the Chabahar Port, something that was confirmed by India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Iranian Ambassador to India, Iraj Elahi.

Pezeshkian's Thrust on Resurrecting Iranian Economy

Viewed as a reformist, Masoud Pezeshkian has vowed to usher in economic growth in the Shiite-majority state, which for years has grappled with slow growth, largely due to the harsh economic sanctions imposed unilaterally on it by the United States.
This has raised optimism among nations, like India that for years have wished for closer economic ties with Iran.
For instance, India would have liked to import far more crude oil from Iran than it currently buys from the Middle Eastern nation. That's possibly why an economically powerful Iran makes sense for India.
In this light, Quamar stated that the election of Masoud Pezeshkian is notable because of his links to the Reformist camp in Iranian politics.
"Once he takes over the presidency, Pezeshkian is likely to focus most on working towards economic recovery, that might make him more receptive to the idea of ending the Iranian isolation over the nuclear programme," Quamar underlined.
He reckoned that so far as India-Iran relations are concerned, the two enjoy strong and friendly ties based on shared economic and strategic interests.
"For India, the end of sanctions on Iran, if Pezeshkian government is able to achieve it, would be useful given that it will open another source of oil imports and will also improve the possibilities in other trading sectors," the geopolitical pundit added.
Quamar observed that Iranian positions on Afghanistan, Yemen, and Gaza are also important but they are unlikely to witness a significant change in the current scenario.

India Essential For Iran's Infrastructure Push

Meanwhile, Dr. Nazir Ahmad Mir, who is a research analyst with the New Delhi-based, Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), seemed to agree with Quamar's assessment of the future of India-Iran ties under Pezeshkian's leadership.
"Given the crippling sanctions, the country is unable to build infrastructure. That is why it has been looking for investment from countries like India," Mir opined in a conversation with Sputnik India.
He expressed that given India's increasing demands for energy, as its economy keeps growing, it needs access to energy resources. Iran offers an efficient source to meet those demands.
India has shown its commitment to a multi-alignment policy by continuing to buy oil from Russia despite pressure from the US.
Mir suggested that India is unlikely to go that far when it comes to Iran. But with the election of Pezeshkian, if there is some ease in the relations with the US, it will be in India's interest to cooperate in trade relations and enhance ties on projects like the Chabahar Port.

"A lot will depend on the US presidential election results in November. Though, overall, it is likely that the Iran-India partnership will grow," he concluded.

A truck transporting cargo from Afghanistan to be exported to India is seen at Shahid Beheshti Port in the southeastern Iranian coastal city of Chabahar, on the Gulf of Oman, on February 25, 2019. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP) - Sputnik India, 1920, 23.05.2024
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