Iran president Hassan Rouhani calls for unity against ‘western powers’

Hyderabad: Calling for stronger ties between Iran and India, visiting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Friday said the two countries should work together in areas of mutual interest.

“India-Iran relations are close to my heart. We are rich in oil and energy and are ready to share it with India for its development,” Rouhani said during an address at the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad’s old city area.

He added that Iran wants peace in the region and seeks peaceful coexistence with other countries.

Rouhani, who is in India on a three-day visit from 15 to 17 February to boost bilateral ties between India and Iran, will leave for New Delhi on Saturday where he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“India and Iran are united and should work together in agriculture and new technology. This will enhance cooperation in mutual areas of interest,” he said.

In a jibe at the US with regard to the shooting which took place at a school in Florida, wherein 17 people were killed, Rouhani said western countries witness such violent incidents due to the “prevalence of gun culture”.

Rouhani, who visited the historic Qutb Shahi tombs where the Persian founders of Hyderabad are buried, said, “After seeing all the monuments here I have understood that India and Iran share historical cultural relations.”

The Iranian president’s visit comes days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi completed a four-nation tour of West Asia.

Quoting from the Quran, Rouhani said a person who kills one human being kills humanity and one who saves a life saves humanity. Towards the end of his address, he said Iran and India are both important to the future of Asia.

On Thursday, he called for unity against “western powers” while addressing a gathering of Muslim scholars and intellectuals in the city. Rouhani reiterated that Iran wants to have friendly relations with both Islamic and non-Islamic countries.

India is helping Iran develop the Chabahar port on the Gulf of Oman for trade with Afghanistan and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan, which has refused to provide New Delhi access through a land route.

In 2016, India, Afghanistan, and Iran decided to establish a trade route for land-locked Afghanistan and Central Asian countries. India committed up to $500 million for the development of Chabahar along with associated roads and railway lines.

India shipped its first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan by sea through Chabahar last October.livemint

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