Iran foreign minister talks terror, trade, raises Prophet remark row on India visit

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India and Iran on Wednesday discussed ways to enhance cooperation in connectivity, trade and counter-terrorism even as visiting Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian raised the controversial remarks against Prophet Mohammed made by two former BJP spokespersons.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar and Amir-Abdollahian reviewed bilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas against the backdrop of widespread anger in West Asian countries over the controversy.

Amir-Abdollahian, on his first visit to India since assuming office last year, raised the issue at his meeting with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and spoke about the “negative atmosphere” created by the remarks of some people, according to a statement from Iran’s foreign ministry.

Jaishankar tweeted that he and his Iranian counterpart had held wide ranging discussions and reviewed bilateral cooperation, including in trade, connectivity, health and people-to-people ties.

Amir-Abdollahian also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who “warmly recalled the long-standing civilisational and cultural links between India and Iran”, according to a statement from the external affairs ministry.

“Was happy to receive Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian for a useful discussion on further development of centuries-old civilizational links between India and Iran. Our relations have mutually benefited both the countries and have promoted regional security and prosperity,” Modi said in a tweet.

The statement from Iran’s foreign ministry, which was in Persian, said Amir-Abdollahian referred to the “negative atmosphere created by some people” by disrespecting Prophet Mohammed at his meeting with Doval. In response, the statement quoted Doval as reiterating that Indian government and officials respect the Prophet.

The statement further said the NSA noted the people involved in the incident “will be dealt with at the level of the government and related agencies in a way that is a lesson to others”.

BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma was suspended from her position while her colleague Naveen Jindal was expelled from the party amid mounting anger in West Asian countries over the remarks they had made.


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