Iran today strongly pitched for deeper bilateral ties and increased cooperation in security and economic arena with India, saying both the countries face “common threats and interests’’.

Iran also stressed on the importance of the Chabahar Port and the energy security that it could provide vis-a-vis gas and oil.

“We have common interests and threats. This calls for more interactions, more talks and more consultations,” Saeed Jalili, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, said here.

Underlining that Iran shares “very good” relations with India, Jalili, who met his Indian counterpart, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, during his three-day official visit, said leaders of both the countries are committed to “deepen and expand” relations.

“Cooperation in security field, political field and economic field gives us opportunity to expand relations in cultural field also,” he said.

Bilateral ties

He said the future of the relationship is “very good” and bilateral ties will grow.

Jalili, who is also the chief nuclear negotiator of Iran, said he had good talks with Menon.

“We had good cooperation and good discussion on our common threat. There are certain regional issues like organised crime, drug trafficking and terrorism,” he said.

“There are common threats in the region like organised crime, terrorism and new elements like piracy. These are issues that call for cooperation and provide for opportunities.’’

Nuclear cooperation

Asked if nuclear cooperation was part of the talks with Menon, he said: “We had talks about different fields. But nuclear issue was not part of discussion,” he said, adding that Tehran believes nuclear issue is important.

To a query if India was facilitating its talks with P5+1 over the nuclear issue, he said: “Not particularly. We generally talk and consult them (India).”

Chabahar port issue

On the issue of Chabahar Port, Jalili said: “North-South corridor is one of the most important projects, a strategic project which can promote mutual relations and multilateral ties.’’

He said the port will allow India to export Indian goods to various parts of the world. India’s interest in the Iranian port is not only to get a direct access to Central Asia but also to facilitate import of minerals from Afghanistan.

Gas pipeline project

Asked if Tehran is still trying to convince New Delhi to extend the gas pipeline between it and Pakistan to India, he said: “Iran has lot of reservoirs of gas. We welcome our friends who want to use these resources.’’

He said Iran was committed to providing security and energy needs of the region.

On the issue of Afghanistan, he said both Iran and India have made efforts to help Afghanistan. He said Iran was in favour of Afghan people-driven policy post the pull-out of the foreign forces in 2014 and added that democracy was the answer.

Democracy in Syria

Speaking on developments in Syria and Bahrain, Jalili alleged democracy in Syria is being brought through arms, terrorists and violence. Jalili pitched for elections and said the decision of the people should be respected.

He also accused the US of duplicity.

“There is a kind of duplicity in the behaviour of the US,” he said pointing out that principal elements of Washington’s foreign policy were democracy and free trade.

“The US created a government through coup. It supported for 25 years in Iran a dictator who came to power through coup,” he said accusing the US of being hostile to it ever since Iranians formed a “popular” government.

(This article was published on January 4, 2013)
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