Iranian leader to discuss nuke issue with India

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 26, 2013 11:50 hrs

New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani arrived here Tuesday to urge India to play a greater role in ending Tehran's impasse with the West on its nuclear programme.

His trip came as fresh negotiations began in Kazakhstan on Iran's controversial nuclear programme.

Larijani, who is expected to be the next Iranian president, will meet President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.

He will brief them on Iran's stand on the crucial talks with the Security Council members that will decide the future course of action against Tehran.

Iran feels that India should play an active role in bridging the gap between the West and Tehran on the nuclear issue.

While the West claims that Iran is clandestinely moving towards developing nuclear weapons, Iran maintains that its programme is purely for civilian purpose.

The US and the West have imposed fresh sanctions on Iran that has made it virtually impossible for it to export crude oil to India.

India has already reduced dependence of crude oil on Iran and Saudi Arabia has expressed willingness to meet the Indian requirement.

Larijani will hold detailed talks with National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon. Besides the nuclear issue, they will also discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

The Iranian speaker is also expected to meet his Indian counterpart Meira Kumar.

There have been several high-level visits by Iranian officials to India after Manmohan Singh visited Iran last year.

Manmohan Singh went to Iran to attend the non-aligned meet and also held talks with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iranian National Security Advisor Saeed Jalili visited India in December.

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