Iran on Tuesday hoped that India would join the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline project soon, but pointed out that there should be “some limit” to the time being taken to arrive at a decision.
Iran indicated that it was on the same page as India on the approach towards bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan, where there is “no good or bad Taliban,” Iran’s Ambassador to India Syed Mehdi Nabizadeh said while speaking to journalists on the “31st anniversary of victory of the Islamic Revolution.”
“We are keeping alive our negotiations on IPI. A team from the Indian Oil Ministry was in Tehran recently,” Mr. Nabizadeh said when asked about the expiry of the one month timeline suggested during a meeting between Petroleum Minister Murli Deora and Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Seifollah Jashnsaz here on December 2.
At the same time, he pointed out that the discussions on the pipeline had been on for 15 years and Iran’s negotiations with Pakistan were reaching the implementation stage.
“The doors are open to India to join. We can’t wait indefinitely. There should be some limit. We hope it will be decided in the future,” Mr. Nabizadeh added.
India stopped attending trilateral meetings after the last one in 2007 and has not engaged bilaterally with Iran for over a year. The sticking points on the Indian side are an Iranian guarantee for the uninterrupted supply of gas via Pakistan and a stable pricing mechanism.
‘Aims not met’
On Afghanistan, Mr. Nabizadeh pointed out none of the three aims for the foreign military presence since 2001 had been met.
“Foreign presence in Afghanistan acquired a different dimension since 2001. The three aims were stopping the trafficking of narcotics, fighting Taliban and terrorism, and establishing security in the region. Now we observe that none of the aims has been realised. Narcotics production has increased, fundamentalism has spread to other countries, and the security of neighbouring countries is being threatened,” he said.
India and Iran, Mr. Nabizadeh felt, being regional countries, could play an important role in stabilising Afghanistan.
“Our experience is not to believe in the good and bad Taliban theory. The government has to be run with the support of the people, and neighbouring countries are duty bound to provide help to bring peace in Afghanistan,” he said.