India will use External Affairs Minister S M Krishna's visit to Iran this week to "further clarify" its position on the vote against Tehran at the summit of the UN nuclear watchdog IAEA.
The visit "will give me an opportunity under the G-15 meetings to have bilateral talks with the Iranian Foreign Minister and further clarify whatever we have said," Krishna told reporters on his way back from his two-day visit to Kazakhstan.
He was asked about the Indian vote against Iran. India had last year backed an international resolution against Iran over its nuclear programme while making it clear that it was opposed to "a renewed punitive approach or sanctions" against that country. It had favoured dialogue to resolve the issue.
Asked whether India's relations with Iran had been affected by the vote, the Minister said, "...Naturaly Iran was not pleased with our vote. But we have explained our position and I hope that Iran would be able to understand and appreciate our position".
The minister said that the relationship between the two countries has been very smooth despite the vote issue.
"But that was done under broad policy parameters which we had drawn for ourselves and we have explained our goal to Iran because it is a friendly power," he said.
"In the relationship between two countries, there could be times when on one issue there could be certain divergence of views.... That should not halt the overall relationship of friendship between our two countries," Krishna said.
"We respect Iran's eagerness to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes just like we did when we started it," he said.
Asked about the status of the Iran-India gas pipeline, Krishna said, "That certainly will be one of the aspects of my discussions with Iran.
"We have always been supportive of the gas pipeline involving India, Pakistan and Iran and that is part of the energy security that we are looking forward to... And we hope that we are able to clinch the issue".
But, the only two things which are delaying the negotiations "are the cost, the price and the security," he said, adding unless these issues are effectively resolved, no progress would be possible. "I hope there is going to be an earnestness from both sides to complete the negotiations".
The External Affairs Minister will leave for Iran on May 15 on a bilateral visit and attend the G-15 meeting on May 17-18.