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Iranian minister arrives in Delhi

Safari's visit comes amid assertions by India that it wants to strengthen its ties with Iran.

india Updated: Aug 28, 2006 13:33 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Mehdi Safari arrives in Delhi on Monday to discuss Tehran's controversial nuclear programme as well as the ambitious tri-nation gas pipeline project with India and Pakistan.

Safari's visit comes almost a month after his senior minister Manouchehr Mottaki cancelled his visit at the last moment due to the fighting in Lebanon.

Safari is expected to explain the peaceful nature of his country's nuclear programme ahead of the August 31 UN deadline to Tehran to suspend nuclear fuel enrichment or face possible sanctions.

Other issues like the pricing of the gas from proposed tri-nation pipeline are also likely to figure in the discussions.

This is the second visit of the deputy foreign minister who had come in February on an unpublicised visit to New Delhi for a day and left after meeting Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma and Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran.

At that time, Safari's visit was clearly an effort by Tehran to explain its point of view to New Delhi before the meeting of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) board of governors in Vienna in March.

The visit by Safari is expected to be followed by that of Mottaki later next month.

Safari's visit also comes amid assertions by India that it wants to strengthen its ties with Iran, despite New Delhi's vote against the country's nuclear programme at the IAEA meetings.

First Published: Aug 28, 2006 13:33 IST