File photo of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Photograph:( AFP )
Exclusive Interview: Despite the multi-billion dollar pact with China, there is a bigger potential for Tehran to have relations with India, former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday. He was speaking in an exclusive interview with WION's Palki Sharma.
Even as the debate on ties with China is ongoing in Iran, there is a bigger potential for Tehran to have relations with India, former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday.
He was responding to a question about the growing proximity between Iran and China, in an exclusive interview with WION Executive Editor Palki Sharma.
Under former president Hassan Rouhani, Iran had elevated its ties with China. A pact worth $400 billion was signed, defining the roadmap of future relations for the next 25 years.
Asked about this, Ahmadinejad said: “I think the potential for cooperation between Iran and India is far more than the capacity of the contract between Iran and China now being discussed.”
“It is the best for nations to have relations with each other and utilise the maximum potential. But I believe that the capacity that exists between Iran and India is much higher than relationships with other countries.”
Asked how Iran-China ties will affect other partners like India, Ahmedinejad said there’s been a lot of debate over China, “and it is ongoing.”
"As I said before, with any agreement justice and respect should be observed. The rights of the two parties should be balanced. Regarding the China deal, no clear information has been published in Iran, that is why Iranian people look at it with doubt."
Noting the deep cultural linkages that exist between India and Iran, the former president said there are a lot of potential areas of cooperation.
“The volume of communications we have today, compared to the potential and common interests, is extremely small," said Ahmadinejad, who launched the proposed ‘peace pipeline’ between India and Iran when he was president.
“As a fundamental strategy, we need to do our best to ensure that we utilise the maximum available capacity.”
“We love the people of India very much. When we travel to India, we feel we are at home,” he said, adding. “The people of India are extremely lovely. They are so kind. There’s cultural proximity shared among the two nations.”
Asked if the new administration of incoming president Ebrahim Raisi is going to take forward ties with India, Ahmadinejad said, “that’s the strategy that the two countries need to pursue and there is no other way except this.”
Part of the interview will air on WION on Tuesday at 3:30 PM GMT.