India, Iran should work for global peace: Iranian minister

New Delhi, Feb 27: Visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Thursday said the time of “zero sum game” played by the West was over and India and Iran should work together to usher in a new perspective of cooperation between all the countries.

Delivering the fifth R.K. Mishra Memorial Lecture, organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Zarif said the context of international relations and the players have changed now and called for a “new paradigm” to usher in an inclusive world where each state played a role.

“No longer there will be monopoly” by an international player, the Iranian foreign minister said.

He said the old zero sum game has only brought hardships, wars and bloodshed to the people, while the new perspective would take each state to a win-win situation, peace and stability through cooperation.

Underlining the need to work towards world peace and regional stability, Zarif said the new government of Iran would never try to gain strategic superiority as it would lead to reducing of conventional superiority.

The lecture was titled “Iran’s Foreign Policy – Towards Stability in West Asia”.

He welcomed the planned withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the forthcoming elections there, saying this was an opportunity to take the country to a new world.

The minister, however, pointed out that the Taliban extremists were a big worry for not only Afghanistan and its people but also to the neighbouring countries and the world, said an ORF release.

The minister said Iran did not believe in making nuclear weapons though it has the technology to do so.

He reiterated that Iran’s nuclear programme was completely peaceful and blamed the West for creating an illusion that the programme was aimed at weaponisation.

He said India and Iran enjoyed thousands of years of cultural and economic bonds, and added that both sides should work together to create better regional stability.

Stressing that extremism and terrorism were bad for the entire world, irrespective of wherever it happened, the minister said aggression and force will only lead to more violence as it has happened in Afghanistan and Iraq in the name of war on terror.

He said Iran strongly believes that the people of Syria should be allowed to decide the future of their country, and not outsiders.

He said many of the fighters involved in the Syrian violence were from the West.

India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who chaired the lecture, stressed the importance of India-Iran relations.

Khurshid said India considers Iran as a “very important” country with whom we have centuries-old civilisational relations.