Iranian Foreign Minister to arrive in India today

New Delhi, May 30: Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi is scheduled to visit India on Thursday on a two-day visit. He will be here to formally invite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit due in Tehran in August. Salehi, who will be here as the Special Envoy of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will hand over an invitation to the Prime Minister, the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

During the visit, Salehi will hold talks with External Affairs Minister SM Krishna. The two sides are expected to discuss ways to push the bilateral ties amidst the US pressure on India to cut its oil imports from Iran. Ahmadinejad had called up the Prime Minister earlier this month to invite him to the NAM summit. He had informed Singh that Salehi would be visiting Delhi carrying the formal invite. During the conversation, the Iranian President had stressed on expansion of Tehran-New Delhi cooperation in different fields, saying "promotion of bilateral cooperation would lead to considerable achievements for both nations."

Ahmadinejad had said Iran and India enjoy 'deep brotherly relations' and that the two nations would witness a bright future. The Prime Minister, on his part, had said India attaches great importance to ties with Iran and called for further expansion of cooperation with Tehran.

Singh told Ahmadinejad that India welcomes widening relations with Iran on the basis of national interests. The telephonic call from Ahmadinejad had come close on the heels of India stating that it had cut crude oil import from Iran by over 11 per cent this fiscal to 15.5 million tons. The announcement about oil cut was made against the backdrop of intense US pressure on India to reduce its imports from Iran.


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