Atul Aneja

We should not let any foreign power harm ties: Tehran

IAEA alone should probe Tehran’s nuclear case

Iran a factor of “stability, security” in the region

DUBAI: Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon has held crucial talks with the Iranian Foreign Minister and the head of the National Security Council, signalling New Delhi’s intent to reengage with Tehran.

Nuclear programme

Concurring with Iran’s approach to defuse the crisis surrounding its nuclear programme, Mr. Menon said Tehran’s nuclear case should be investigated “only” by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.

Mr. Menon is visiting Iran after the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate concluded that Tehran was no longer running a nuclear weapons programme.

According to IRNA, Mr. Menon said Iran was a factor of “stability and security” in the region.

Key areas

The Iranian daily Tehran Times quoted the Foreign Secretary as saying: “New Delhi is prepared to develop its relations with Iran not only in Southwest Asia but also in all other important and strategic areas.” India “is interested in establishing a strategic partnership with Iran in the areas of energy, transport, and security.”

The Iran Foreign Ministry’s Information and Public Relations Department quoted him as saying India was dissatisfied with the current level of relations with Iran.

Multilateralism

In his talks with the National Security Council head, Saeed Jalili, the latter said growing New Delhi-Tehran ties would help to promote “multilateralism” in the world. Iran was a leading advocate against the so-called “unipolar” world led by the U.S. Mr. Jalili advocated an “extensive and long-term cooperation” between the two sides.

In an apparent reference to the U.S. and its allies, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told Mr. Menon: “We should not let any foreign powers to harm existing ties between the two countries.”

Mr. Mottaki said the “low level” of ties between the two great regional countries over the past two years was “lamentable,” and serious efforts were required to raise the relations to their former level.

Pipeline project

Mr. Menon’s trip precedes the visit to Tehran by a Pakistan delegation, which would discuss the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project.

According to Iran’s Fars News Agency, the delegation will finalise a draft gas sales purchase agreement and an Intergovernmental Framework Agreement of the IPI project at the meeting to be held under the framework of the Iran-Pakistan Joint Working Group.