India voting against Iran in IAEA is not a strategic move, but a major difference...We wanted India to play its cards right'

Walk the Talk

In this Walk the Talk on NDTV 24x7, Ali Ardeshir Larijani, Speaker of the Iranian parliament, speaks to The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta about Israel, India's vote against Iran at IAEA and Iran's right to a "peaceful nuclear programme"

I am at the Iranian ambassador's residence in New Delhi and my guest today is Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, in many ways an adviser to the Supreme Leader, former chief negotiator on the nuclear issue, former national security adviser, a philosopher, a computer scientist and most importantly, a key contender in the coming presidential elections in June. And yet, all of 57 years old—Mr Ali Ardeshir Larijani. In fact, in 10 years of Walk The Talk, you are the first guest from your country.

We always consider India as our friend. When I was the secretary of the Supreme National Council of Iran, the first visit that I paid to another country was to India. Therefore, I can say that our relationship with India is very close and tight.

You've had some meetings in Mumbai and Delhi. How good have they been and what's the mood that you picked up?

We had very good meetings both in Mumbai and in New Delhi—both with the business people and high-ranking officials of your country, like the Prime Minister, the President and your Foreign Minister. Overall, we had very good meetings.

Because India and Iran have a very nuanced relationship and a very practical one. Both countries give flexibility to each other.

Maybe it is better to say that Iran and India play a complementary role to each other. This goes back to the roots that bind the two countries together. It goes back (several) centuries. There were many Iranian scientists who came to India. I can say that for almost two centuries, Persian was the official court language (of India). You have some great people who are also considered great people for us too. Like Gandhi, like Jawaharlal Nehru. These are some great people. The people of Iran know about them. Their works are being studied even today in Iran. You have some Indian poets and they have actually written their poetry in Persian language and they are very famous in Iran too. So I can say that the people of the two countries are very close to each other. And when countries have very good people-to-people contacts, then it is very easy for them to have political cooperation.

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