Iran Reels After President Raisi's Shocking Death: Impact On Iran-India Ties & Foreign Relations Revealed In FPJ Exclusive Interview

Iran Reels After President Raisi's Shocking Death: Impact On Iran-India Ties & Foreign Relations Revealed In FPJ Exclusive Interview

The Free Press Journal spoke with the Iranian Consul General in Mumbai Davoud Rezaei Eskandari to understand the impact Raisi's death has left on Iran and its relations with regional players, and ties with India.

Kashif KhusroUpdated: Monday, May 27, 2024, 04:08 PM IST
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Iran has been reeling from the shock following the untimely death of its president, Ebrahim Raisi, in a helicopter crash. The late president's passing has left a void in the power elite of the country and has plunged a region already marred with tense political situations and war under further uncertainty. The Free Press Journal spoke with the Iranian Consul General in Mumbai Davoud Rezaei Eskandari to understand the impact Raisi's death has left on Iran and its relations with regional players, and ties with India.

Ebrahim Raisi's successor

Popular for his hardline stance, Raisi was known as firm negotiator in Iran's foreign policy. Explaining about the transition, Eskandari said, "Our (Iranian) constitution is quite clear about it. ... If anything happens to the president, he or she cannot continue his responsibility due to any reason, for example dying or illness, the first vice president would take over the power. The next president should be elected in the next 50 days. ... The date for the new election has already been set. ... Candidate registration will begin next week on May 30, and the election will be held on June 28. ... In less than two months, we will have a new government and new president."

Watch the full interview

On possible shift in Iran's foreign policy

The Iranian consul general maintained that there will not be a "big change" in Iran's foreign policy under Raisi's successor.

"Regarding the international relations, he (Raisi) and his team has their views. They have run the country. But ... "I don't see a big change in the strategy."

India-Iran relations

India and Iran have been involved in long-standing bilateral relations. According to Eskandari, India is currently among Iran's top 10 trade partners and is likely ranking around five or six. He noted that despite this, the trade value between the two countries is under $5 billion USD, which is much lower than its peak of $18 billion USD a few years ago. This, according to Eskandari, showed that the current level of economic co-operation and trade did not entirely exploit the potential between the two countries.

"We believe that we can do much more to increase to use the potential there is between India and Iran. We believe India is a big growing economy with lots of potential for exporting, for economic co-operation and for importing as well in many areas including pharmaceutical machinery and agriculture," he said.

Western sanctions on Iran

Regarding the sanctions imposed by the West on Tehran, the Iranian consul general explained that his country has been negotiating for the removal and the revival of the Iran nuclear deal or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for the past three years. Negotiations began even during former president Hassan Rouhani's term after the US withdrew from the agreement in 2018, he said, adding that these negotiations did not cease despite various administrations and changes.

"Even during the administration of the late president Raisi, (negotiations) didn't stop never. There has been some development. We came to ... a new agreement that the US again may join it. But it was their decision, based on some wrong calculation from what was happening in Iran and internationally, that they decided not to (take it forward). The ball is in the US (court)," Eskandari concluded.

(Edited by Vishakha Sonawane)

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