Iran's relationship with India has 'far more potential' than China: Ex-president Ahmadinejad

Ahmadinejad, who was Iran's president for two successive terms from 2005-2013, also said that there has been a lot of debate in Iran over the recently signed 25-year Cooperation agreement with China.

Published: 03rd August 2021 10:41 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd August 2021 10:41 PM   |  A+A-

Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad | AP


TEHRAN: Iran's relationship with India has "far more potential" than China, former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday as he asserted that Tehran and New Delhi need to do their best to ensure that they utilise the maximum available capacity.

Ahmadinejad, who was Iran's president for two successive terms from 2005 to 2013, also said that there has been a lot of debate in Iran over the recently signed 25-year Cooperation agreement with China.

"The potential of cooperation between Iran and India is far much more than what the capacity between Iran and China is," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by the WION news channel.

In March, Iran and China signed an agreement worth USD 400 billion, defining the roadmap of future bilateral relations for the next 25 years.

Outgoing Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has hailed the agreement signed under his administration, saying cooperation between the two countries is very important for the implementation of the nuclear accord and the fulfilment of obligations by European countries.

"In Iran, there has been a lot of debate over that country (China), it is ongoing. Regarding the China deal, no clear information has been published in Iran, that is why Iranian people look at it with doubt," Ahmadinejad told the channel.

"The volume of communications that we (Iran and India) have today to our capacity and commonality is extremely small as a fundamental strategy we need to do our best to ensure that we utilise the maximum available capacity," he said.

During his presidency, Ahmadinejad visited India in 2008 and also hosted the 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit in Tehran in 2012, which was attended by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Ahmadinejad also criticised the US decision to withdraw troops from war-torn Afghanistan.

Under a deal with the Taliban, the US and its NATO allies agreed to withdraw all troops in return for a commitment by the militants that they would prevent extremist groups from operating in areas they control.

US President Joe Biden has announced that American troops will be out of the country by August 31.

Ahmadinejad said he believes that "the Americans have in practice not gone out of the region and in fact, they have new plots designed and they are supporting the Taliban."

When asked who was meddling in Afghanistan, he said, "All neighbours are".

He criticised Pakistan's involvement in Afghanistan, saying "Anybody in any part of the world, who considers themselves as the basis and the symbol of a religion and tries to force upon others its will by weapons and arms is going to be a serious threat and danger to all nations and countries all those supporting the Taliban should know that if the Taliban is settled down and takes power, they would soon revolt against themselves and endanger the security."

Ahmadinejad was one of several candidates barred from running in this year's election by Iran's powerful Guardian Council.

He had earlier refused to vote in the 2021 Presidential election.

Speaking about the current leadership of Iran, he said President-elect Ebrahim Raisi faces a challenge to "restore national trust".

Raisi, a hardliner and known to be close to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, won the presidential election in June by a landslide.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is likely to represent India at the swearing-in ceremony of Raisi in Tehran on August 5, people familiar with the development said on Monday.

India Matters


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