Monday, October 18, 2004

Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline will promote security: Rafsanjani

Description of Selected News: "Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline will promote security: Rafsanjani

TEHRAN (MNN) – Iran’s Hashemi Rafsanjani on Monday expressed hope over a rapprochement between India and Pakistan and its positive effects on the region especially for transferring Iranian gas to India through Pakistan, a report released by the Expediency Council said.

In a meeting with the Indian National Security Adviser Jyotindra Nath Dixit, Rafsanjani said the project will bring about economic development and help consolidate security between the involved states.

Rafsanjani, the chairman of the Expediency Council, said Iran and India have good cooperation on regional issues including Afghanistan.

He called for more intensive cooperation between the two giant Asian states for countering pressures by the colonial powers and making efforts to solve the crises facing the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and Kashmir.

Given the potentials of the two countries, Rafsanjani reiterated the need to expand cooperation based on a proper planning.

He also urged broadening of economic cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the fields of energy, transit, information technology, agriculture, trade and space.

For his part, Dixit referred to attempts by foreign powers to disrupt relations between New Delhi and Tehran, saying that the two countries’ relations have been planned based on long-term objectives.

The Indian official said that his country is determined to raise the level of bilateral, regional and international cooperation with Iran.

Turning to the close stance of the two states on many issues including Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, drugs and terrorism, he called for bolstering of collaboration in these fields.

Dixit said India has the second largest Muslim population and the second largest Shiites in the world and this is a source of spiritual unity between the two countries.

India is the greatest democracy in the world.

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Hassan Rowhani also held talks with Dixit on Monday.

During the meeting Rowhani referred to Tehran-Delhi ties in the field of energy as part of strategic economic cooperation between India and Iran.

Rowhani said Iran-India cooperation with regard to the Afghan crisis and the North-South corridor is strategic and beneficial to the whole region.

The North-South corridor plays an active role in enhancing regional economic ties and Iran and India enjoy an important position in the progression of this great regional and international plan, the SNSC secretary said.

Rowhani stressed that terrorism is a big threat to region and the world, saying that Iran is prepared to actively cooperate with India in this regard.

He stated that Iran-India cooperation in Afghanistan had significantly influenced the resistance against Taliban.

However, Rowhani said, there are still certain countries which like to see the Taliban to regain power and therefore danger is still at hand.

The secretary stressed that Iran and India should continue their cooperation in maintaining stability in Afghanistan and boost the country’s reconstruction process.

Pointing to the unprecedented production of illicit drugs in 2004 as a serious danger Rowhani said that regional and international cooperation is needed to put an end to the cultivation of opium in Afghanistan.

Elsewhere in his remarks the secretary said that Iran will continue its active cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) but will not allow political issues to hinder its efforts to resolve Iran’s nuclear dossier.

Iran will defend its legal rights within the framework of the nuclear treaty and will continue its peaceful nuclear activities by winning the global confidence, he added.

Dixit on his part expressed an optimistic view over the future of Iran-India ties.

Dixit said the issue of Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline will be placed on the agenda of the next session to be held between Indian and Pakistani officials.

The official said that Tehran-Delhi security cooperation is in line with the strategic interests of both sides and will help boost peace, stability and security.

He referred to India’s investment in Iran’s energy sector as part of the significant strategic ties between the two countries.

Dixit further announced India’s readiness to cooperate with Iran to help maintain security and reconstruct Iraq.

Pointing to Iran’s nuclear issue, he stressed that gaining access to peaceful nuclear technology is a right for all countries and no country has the right to prevent another country from achieving its national rights.

The official said that India will continue its cooperation with Iran in the IAEA beside other Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) member countries."

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