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India - Iran Relations

History & Background

The relationship between India and Iran has spanned millennia and has been defined by memorable encounters. Until 1947, the two countries shared a border and share some characteristics in their languages, cultures, and traditions.

The Indian subcontinent and the Persian Gulf share extensive commercial, energy, cultural, and inter-ethnic ties.

On March 15, 1950, India and Iran established diplomatic relations. India has two consulates in Iran, one in Bandar Abbas and another in Zahedan, in addition to the Embassy in Tehran.

Political Relations

The Indian Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Tehran in April 200, during which the two countries signed the "Tehran Declaration," outlining areas of mutual cooperation.

President Mohammad Khatami was the Chief Guest for the Republic Day parade in India from January 24-28, 2003. Both parties signed "The New Delhi Declaration," which outlined India's goal for a strategic engagement with Iran.

Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, paid a visit to Iran to attend the 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit, which took place in Tehran from August 28 to August 31, 2012.

In the presence of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, President Hassan Rouhani, and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, a trilateral agreement on transit and transportation was signed between India, Iran, and Afghanistan.

In Vahdat Hall, Tehran, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi also launched an international conference themed "India-Iran two great civilizations" and issued a Persian manuscript named "Kalileh Wa Dimneh."

Commercial Relations

In the fiscal year 2018-19, bilateral trade between India and Iran climbed to USD 17.03 billion, up from USD 13.76 billion in the fiscal year 2017-18. This was a gain of 23.8 per cent. India exported 3.5 billion dollars, whereas Iran imported 13.5 billion.

India's significant exports to Iran are rice, tea, iron and steel, organic chemicals, metals, electrical machinery, and drugs/pharmaceuticals.

India's primary imports from Iran include petroleum and petroleum products, inorganic/organic chemicals, fertilisers, plastic and related goods, edible fruits and nuts, glass and glassware, natural or cultured pearls, precious or semiprecious stones, and others.

Chabahar Agreement

The Trilateral Transit Agreement (Chabahar Agreement) was signed by the three transport ministers of India, Iran and Afghanistan in the presence of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, President Dr Rouhani and President Ashraf Ghani in May 2016.

It includes an $85 million investment in port equipment. The contract also includes a credit line of around USD 150 million for the development of Chabahar's Shahid Beheshti port's first phase.

Cultural Relations

The Indian Cultural Centre, which was established by Shri Salman Khurshid, the then-External Affairs Minister, during his visit to Iran for the NAM conference in May 2013, is now operational within the Embassy grounds.

MoUs on the India-Iran Cultural Exchange Program, ICCR, and ICRO were signed during Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi's May 2016 visit to Tehran.

The agreement was signed by Iran, India's National Archives, and Iran's National Library and Archives Organization.

  • The Indian Cultural Centre, which opened in 2013, was renamed the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC) in 2018.

  • The Embassy organises music/cultural/literary programs/seminars on cultural/literary issues relating to India and Iran on a regular basis.

  • The International Day of Yoga was observed in 2018 and 2019. A week-long Yoga programme was part of IDY-2019. On October 2, 2018, two special ceremonies were conducted to mark Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birthday (from October 2018 to October 2019).

  • In June 2019, the Ambassador and Iranian officers performed a tree-planting ceremony near the iconic Tehran Milad Tower (the world's sixth-highest structure) to mark the inauguration of Gandhi Vatika.

Shri Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), visited Iran from November 30 to December 2 to kick off a conference titled "Linguistic Links between Persian and Sanskrit Languages - with Special Reference to Sanskrit Grammarian Panini."

Indian Community

Around 4000 Indian nationals live in Iran's Indian community. (In Tehran, there are 80-100 households, and in Zahedan, there are 13-15 families.)

In Qom, Esfahan, and Mashhad, there are approximately 2800 Indian nationals, mostly Indian students pursuing theological degrees and their families.

In addition, there are approximately 200 Indian nationals employed in private firms in Iran. The Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) runs an Indian school in Tehran under the auspices of the Indian Embassy.


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