NEW DELHI: Indo-Persian relations pre-date Islam, and today the strong bonds between the two ancient civilizations can be seen by the fact that they share a similar world view, believes Dr Ghulam Ali Haddad Adel, special adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and former speaker of the Iranian Parliament.
Addressing a select gathering of scholars at the Iran Cultural House in New Delhi to mark the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, Dr Adel, who is also the chairman of the Academy of Persian Language and Literature, said that Indian literature, including holy books like the Bhagwad Gita, were translated into Farsi more than 1,500 years ago, and these were in turn translated into Arabic and other languages.
Both nations had shared experiences of colonialism and imperialism, and both had fought hard for their freedom, he said. “We are neither blind followers nor enemies of those who disagree with us, but honest critics,” he said.
Iran’s foreign policy was not west-centric but focused on the east, he said. India was thus not only an important economic partner for Iran, capable of helping India fulfill its growing India’s oil and gas needs, but also a strategic partner, which was evident from the Chabahar port joint venture, aimed at connecting Afghanistan and Central Asia to the Indian Ocean.
The Iran-India partnership was also based on the fact that both nations refused to succumb to foreign pressures when it came to their own interests, he said. “Some nations, including our common friends, wonder how the India-Iran relationship has survived the massive pressure from superpowers,” he said.
Noting that Iran faced the toughest ever sanctions from the West (mainly the US) today, he said that if staying true to one’s religious, social and cultural roots were a crime, “Iran was willing to pay the price for it.” Any other nation would have wilted in a year under such pressure, but Iran would never compromise on its core beliefs, no matter what, he said.
Alluding to US President Donald Trump’s charge that Iran supported terrorists, he said that outfits like the ISIS or other radical outfits had made no inroads in Iran because there is “no space for extremism in our culture.”
Listing the achievements of his country post the revolution, he stressed on how school and college dropouts had shown a dramatic decline, while Iranian youngsters were in the forefront of every modern
scientific, medical and industrial domain. Iran ranks among the top 10 nations in the field of nano-technology, while no Iranian needed to go abroad for medical treatment because of Iran’s world class medical facilities, he said.