'Indo-Iran ties not dependent on Iran-US ties'

"Iran is a trusted old friend of India", Pranab Mukherjee said recalling New Delhi and Tehran had age-old ties.

india Updated: Sep 04, 2006 14:24 IST

India on Sunday affirmed that its ties with Iran, which faces the West's wrath over its controversial nuclear programme, were not dependent on Tehran's relations with other countries.

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

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

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

Iran has also defied the West's demand for giving up uranium enrichment which could lead to the manufacturing of a nuclear bomb.

The Minister, who is on a six-day high level visit to France and Germany, had a refueling stop over at Tabriz airport in Iran's north western province where he was received by the Governor of the province, Iranian foreign ministry officials and senior officers of Iranian Army.

Asked whether the impasse over Iran's nuclear programme figured in his talks with Iranian officials, Mukherjee made it clear that his stay in the 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 at Tabriz.

First Published: Sep 04, 2006 14:24 IST