Leader Receives Afghan, Indian Heads of State

Leader Receives Afghan, Indian Heads of StateLeader Receives Afghan, Indian Heads of State

The Leader of Islamic Revolution on Monday held separate meetings with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Indian Premier Narendra Modi, who were on a visit to Tehran to sign a deal on development of Chabahar Port as a commercial hub to boost trilateral trade.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has always paid serious attention to Afghanistan's interests and security, and considers the progress of this country in all sectors as its own," Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei told Ghani, reported.

He described Afghan people as courageous, zealous and intelligent, adding, "Afghanistan enjoys God's blessing of natural and human resources, and the country can make good progress by properly using those resources."

The Leader highlighted the Iranian people's hospitality vis-à-vis Afghan people during the years of war and after that.

"Unlike certain countries, such as the US and UK, the Islamic Republic of Iran has always treated the Afghan people with respect … and will withhold no technical, engineering and infrastructural assistance for Afghanistan to exploit its natural resources," he said.

Ayatollah Khamenei called for a swift settlement of the issue of Iran-Afghanistan border rivers, saying, "Such issues should not give rise to enmity and rancor in relations between countries like Iran and Afghanistan that share borders, culture and needs."

Ghani expressed happiness with the trilateral negotiations, particularly the agreement for transit communications with India through Iran's southeastern Chabahar Port.

"We always appreciate the hospitality of the Iranian people and Your Excellency's positive view of Afghanistan and we hope that the Tehran negotiations will prepare the ground for increasing broader relations," the Afghan president added.

"In the coming weeks, an expert meeting will be held to discuss issues related to the two countries' use of border rivers and we hope that this issue will be settled within a proper framework."

  Strong Bonds

In his meeting with Modi, Ayatollah Khamenei referred to the very long and historical background of cultural, economic and national relations between Iran and India, saying there are extensive grounds for cooperation between the two countries.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran welcomes expansion of relations with India, which is one of the emerging and progressive economies in the world, and Iran is fully serious in implementing bilateral agreements and is not influenced by any policy," he said.

Referring to India's promising economic future and Iran's oil and gas resources, the Leader said Iran is the richest country in hydrocarbon reserves and "as Your Excellency said, in addition to oil and gas, Chabahar [Port] is an important point connecting east and west, and north and south, that can prepare the ground for deep, long-term and useful cooperation."

Ayatollah Khamenei praised the Indian government's correct policy of not joining any West-led and US-led anti-terrorism coalitions, saying terrorism has regrettably been attributed to Islam while fighting it must be credited to Muslims.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is serious in the fight against terrorism and will exhaust all its potentialities for countering it," he said. The Indian prime minister referred to Ayatollah Khamenei's visit to India in 1980, saying the visit cleared the way for deeper ties between the two countries.

"In the current visit, good agreements have been signed and major decisions have been made which I am sure will produce good results, given the two sides' serious determination," Modi said.