Source: Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan
Iran asks India, Pakistan to resolve issues with maturity
* Deputy foreign minister says Islamabad must combat terrorism with an iron hand
NEW DELHI: Indicating that mismanagement in Afghanistan by the United States is the root cause of terrorism in the region, Iran on Friday asked India and Pakistan to resolve their issues with maturity in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.
Visiting Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Muhammad Mahdi Akhounzadeh indicated that India’s security concerns were fettering negotiations on the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline.
Asked what he considered was the root cause of terrorism in the region, including the Mumbai attacks, Akhounzadeh told reporters, “The developments in Afghanistan are alarming,” adding those who had tried to restore peace and stability in Afghanistan had failed, referring to the US policy towards Kabul.
Iron hand: Asked about India’s accusations against Pakistan, the Iranian minister refused to point fingers but said Pakistan must deal with terrorism with an iron hand. He also asked Islamabad to make a strong commitment that it will not tolerate terrorism. He said both Indian and Pakistan should adopt a ‘cool-headed’ approach to resolve their issues, adding, “Terrorists should not dictate policy. We should not fall victim to terrorists.”
Akhounzadeh said negotiations on the $7.5 billion IPI pipeline might take some more time as India felt the Mumbai attacks had aggravated its security concerns.
However, the minister felt terror attacks should not come in the way of implementing the project.
“We feel Asian leaders should be vigilant to the futuristic needs of its people,” he said in an apparent reference to the natural gas deficits in India and Pakistan that the pipeline can bridge.
Iran wants energy ministers of India and Pakistan to visit Tehran at the earliest to sort out a handful of outstanding issues impeding the project that was conceived in the mid-90s. iftikhar gilani