Indo-Iran ties not dependent on Tehran's relations with 3rd states: Indian minister

Iran Materials 4 September 2006 12:33 (UTC +04:00)

(IRNA) - Affirming its ties with Iran, India cleared its relations with Tehran, saying they were not dependent on Iran's relations with other countries even as a deadline demanded by the West for Iran to freeze its nuclear program ended last week, reports Trend.

When asked by newsmen on his arrival to Paris, Sunday, what India's stand would be if the United Nations imposed sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said "our relationship with one country is not dependent on that country's relations with others," Doordarshan News said here.

"Iran is a trusted old friend of India," he said, adding that New Delhi and Tehran have age-old ties and have recently embarked on developing and firming up good economic cooperation.

His remarks came as Iranian officials agreed to hold negotiations on the subject but ruled out abandoning uranium enrichment and and reprocessing activities.

Iran has also defied the West's demand for giving up uranium enrichment before resumption of nuclear negotiations.

The minister, who is on a six-day, high-level visit to France and Germany, had a refueling stopover at Tabriz airport in Iran's northwestern province, where he was received by the governor of the province, Iranian Foreign Ministry officials and senior officers of the Iranian Army.

Asked whether the impasse over Iran's nuclear program figured in his talks with Iranian officials during his stopover, Mukherjee made it clear that his stay in Iranian territory was a refueling halt during which only courtesies were exchanged.

On his way back from Germany, the minister's aircraft will have a similar refueling stop in Tabriz.