Masood Ebrahimi Khaleghi, Consul General, Islamic Republic of Iran, recently spoke on India – Iran Cultural Ties: An Appraisal at Anjuman –E-Khairul Islam’s Poona College in collaboration with the Culture House of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mumbai. Khalegi, a seasoned diplomat well versed in the philosophy of Iranian revolution, spoke on the deepening of economic and cultural ties between India and Iran. Following are excerpts from his interview to Nadeem Inamdar
How do you view the state of India–Iran relations today?
Iran shares a very good relationship with the Indian government and there is tremendous scope for growth of solid cultural and people to people ties besides vast opportunities in trade and commerce. India has been importing oil from Iran since long and all the bank payment related issues have been settled through sustained dialogue and mutual agreement between the two countries. Both India and Iran stand to gain the most from each other and both have immense potential in terms of skilled workforce, flourishing businesses, strong cultural heritage and abundant natural resources which are being tapped for stronger ties. The scope for the future is far and wide and India is the most respected and admired nations in the world in the eyes of Iranians since age-old times.
How would you explain the strong differences that Iran has with the West and the United States?
It is a myth and a perception which has been carefully and deliberately created against the nation of Iran by the capitalist people in the West and America. Iran stands for humanity and has always stood for its own independence and will never bow to the capitalist and rich sections of the world. Iran has its own dignity and is committed to the cause of Islamic values and the rich religious and humanitarian tradition it has been following since the Islamic revolution. A section of the media too has intensified the hostility in the relations of Iran with the West and we want the correct the picture of Iran based on the principles of objectivity and truth. However, Iran firmly believes in the concept of universal humanity defining all the global relationships as a part of its foreign policy.
What is the future roadmap for the strategically important Chabahar Port?
Both Iran and India have called for an early operationalisation and commissioning of the strategic port of Chabahar which in turn will solve 80 per cent of the energy requirements. Both the sides have pledged their commitments and are positively assessing the progress made till date. The commissioning and active participation of Afghanistan, India and Iran in the oceanic port project is a win-win situation for the countries as it will become an engine of growth for the complete geographical region of the partnering nations.
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