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Iran backs India's UNSC bid, says 'we stand together' in fighting terrorism

Visiting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Friday called for giving veto rights to India, which, he described as a peace-loving country of over one billion people.

Iran backs India's UNSC bid, says 'we stand together' in fighting terrorism

New Delhi: Visiting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Friday called for giving veto rights to India, which, he described as a peace-loving country of over one billion people.

''Why India with a population of over 1 billion doesn't enjoy veto rights and why does the US have veto rights?'', the visiting Iranian leader said while addressing a press conference in the national capital.

Rouhani also questioned why only five powerful countries, which had atomic bombs, have been given the right of veto at the United Nations Security Council.

Rouhani also slammed the US for trying to control the destiny of Iranians.

The Iranian leader made these remarks after the two sides signed 9 crucial agreements, with a renewed focus on the strategically important Chabahar Port.

During his speech, Rouhani stressed that India is a country which believes in peaceful co-existence of people from all religions and ethnicity. He also underscored that the cordial relations between India and Iran were beyond trade and business.

Acknowledging that India and Iran shared a similar history and culture with each other, President Rouhani said, "The relations between the two countries goes beyond trade and business, it goes back in history. We share cultural and historical relations with the two countries. Our and your artists, engineers, mathematicians and litterateurs ensured that our relations, which goes back in history are kept intact, which will strengthen our friendship and relationship in the future."

Shifting his focus on the global menace of terrorism, Rouhani said, ''India and Iran have a common stance in effectively dealing with terrorism and extremism, and called for concerted regional efforts to deal with the challenge.''

''We are determined to confront terrorism and extremism through culture and the exchange of information and experience," Rouhani said in a statement to the media.

Trying to reflect on growing congruence in bilateral ties, the Iranian leader said that the two sides deliberated on a range of pressing bilateral, regional and international issues but did not disagree on even a "single topic".

Asked whether India raised the issue of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir during today's talks, officials in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that there was an understanding on how India was a victim of terrorism, indicating that it figured in the deliberations.

Rouhani said he and Modi had very good discussions on stepping up cooperation in a number of key areas including oil and gas as well as on crucial connectivity projects like development of the Chabahar port.

"Today, we are witnessing the development of Chabahar Port and a momentum in the construction of Chabahar railway to Zahedan with India's investment," Rouhani said.

The Iranian President said Modi's visit to Tehran in 2016 paved the way for bringing new momentum in ties and its fruits are being seen today.

Rouhani said Iran was "fully ready" to intensify cooperation in the areas of energy, particularly oil, gas and petrochemicals.

"We also had a great deal of discussion today on facilitating economic relations, preferential trade tariffs, better banking relations, visa relations and facilitating travel between the two countries for business purposes," he said.

Referring to the situation in Afghanistan, he said both countries were of the opinion that all stakeholders should work for peace and stability of the country.

"We believe that the various issues of the region, especially in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, should be resolved through political initiatives," he said.

On Iran's nuclear issue, he said both the countries have a common viewpoint that the commitment to the international agreement must be honoured. 

During his speech, the Iranian President added that the intertwining of two cultures indicated the strong bonding and reaffirming of the friendly relations between India and Iran.

Comparing the Qutb Shahi Tombs in Hyderabad with that of India's friendship with Iran, President Rouhani stated that the architectural style of the tomb safeguarded the relationship of both countries.

He thanked Prime Minister Modi for the kindness and the hospitality served during his three-day visit to India.

On Friday, President Rouhani had visited the Qutb Shahi tombs in the Golconda area of Hyderabad.

Located a kilometre away from the Golconda Fort in Hyderabad, the Qutb Shahi tombs consist of tombs of seven Qutub Shahi rulers.

Constructed on an elevated platform, the Qutb Shahi tombs are made up of grey granite. These are dome-structured and have a quadrangular shape, having a blend of Indian and Persian architectural styles.

The tombs were constructed by Sultan Quli Qutub-ul-Mulk, who was the founder of Qutub Shahi dynasty, a 16th-century dynasty that ruled parts of present-day Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, with Hyderabad as its capital. 

(With Agency inputs)