Iranian Foreign Minister defends Pakistan's regional policy against Indian journalist provoking questions in Delhi
Tehran, Jan 9, IRNA – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has expressed Iran's readiness in working with Pakistan to fight extremist groups.
Speaking to Indian media 'NDTV', on Wednesday, Zarif said, 'We cannot be prisoners of the past'. 'We disagreed with Pakistan in the 90s when they created the Taliban or helped create the Taliban. We were the first to offer victims to suffer in the hands of the Taliban - 11 of my colleagues were murdered by the Taliban, but we cannot be prisoners of the past.'
'We need to work for a better future and Iran is ready to work with Pakistan in order to realize what the Pakistani leaders have been telling us that they believe fighting extremist groups is in their national security interest and we believe analytically that that is the case,' he added.
He went on to say, 'We believe that Pakistani position on Afghanistan is evolving and we believe that Pakistan now is trying to play a positive role in getting a peace process underway in Afghanistan.'
'I understand that the Pakistanis also do not wish to see an Afghanistan dominated by extremist groups... but for Pakistan it is an existential threat. Extremism in Pakistan and Afghanistan is an existential threat for Pakistan,' he reiterated.
In response to a question on India concerns over terror groups in Afghanistan, Zarif said, 'I think it would be impossible to have a future Afghanistan without any role for the Taliban. But we also believe that the Taliban do not have - should not have a dominant role in Afghanistan. Of course at the end of the day that is the decision that the Afghans need to make.'
Elaborating on the impact of US unilateral sanctions on India oil imports from Iran, Iranian Foreign Minister said, 'We have been able to engage with each other even under more difficult circumstances and I am confident that Iran and India will find - particularly our private sector - will find possibilities to evade this illegal measures. Let's remind ourselves that these are illegal measures. We are not trying to evade law; we are trying to evade lawlessness, we are trying to evade bullying.'
Zarif is in India to attend Raisina Dialogue which is a multilateral conference held in New Delhi annually.
Since its inception in 2016, the conference has emerged as India’s flagship conference on geopolitics and geo-economics.