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Monday, November 3, 2008
Iran-India-Pakistan cooperation would restore regional security: Rafsanjani
Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN – Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Sunday called for closer cooperation between Iran, India, and Pakistan in their efforts to bring back “tranquility” to the war-torn Afghanistan.
“Resolving the current crisis in Afghanistan requires extensive cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran, India and Pakistan. This cooperation can bring tranquility to the region,” Rafsanjani told visiting Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
He said the situation of foreign troops in Afghanistan is similar to that of the Soviet army in 1979-1989 war.
“The experience of the Soviet Union’s presence in this country shows that the path the West is now treading in Afghanistan will not yield the desired results. The signs that are currently observed in Afghanistan show that the West is not capable of resolving the problems of this country.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, Rafsanjani said Iran and India enjoy centuries-old relations. “India has a special place in Iran’s strategy of ‘look to the East’,” he stated.
Rafsanjani, who also heads the Assembly of Experts, added, “Iran is determined to boost its relations with India.”
Iran, Pakistan, and India have been negotiating a deal to transmit Iran’s gas to India via Pakistan.
“The world’s energy demand … has made the implementation of the project inevitable,” he said in reference to the trilateral project dubbed the Peace Pipeline.
Rafsanjani added, “The implementation of this great project is the symbol of cooperation between the (three) countries.”
The Expediency Council chief also said a scientific cooperation between Iran and India is very important as the two countries has made great progress in different scientific fields in recent years.
For his part, the Indian diplomat insisted that “no country outside the region can find a solution to the problems of regional countries, and the regional nations themselves should resolve the problems through cooperation with each other.”
Mukherjee said India, Iran, and Pakistan play important roles in regional events. Further cooperation between the trio would help establish peace and stability in the region, he asserted