Will welcome India’s peace initiative for de-escalating tensions with US: Iran

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, during a meeting in New York in September 2019. (PTI)

Amid rising tension between Tehran and Washington, Iran's Ambassador to India Ali Chegeni said his country will welcome any peace initiative by New Delhi to de-escalate tensions in the region following the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.

Speaking to reporters after a condolence meeting for the late general at the Iranian Embassy in New Delhi, Chegeni said, "India usually plays a very good role in (maintaining) peace in the world. India belongs to this region. We welcome all initiatives from all countries, especially India as a good friend for us, to not allow escalation (of tensions)."

"We are not for war, we are looking for peace and prosperity for everybody in this region. We welcome any Indian initiative or any project that can help peace and prosperity in this world," PTI quoted him as saying. Follow US Iran tensions LIVE Updates here

He also expressed the hope there would be no further escalation in hostilities between his country and the US.

On the Iranian attack on US targets in Iraq, Chegeni said his country retaliated under its right to defend. His comments came hours after Iran attacked two American bases in Iraq with a barrage of missiles early Wednesday morning.

Maj Gen Soleimani, 62, the head of Iran's elite al-Quds force and architect of its regional security apparatus, was killed when a US drone fired missiles into a convoy that was leaving the Baghdad International Airport early on Friday. The strike also killed the deputy chief of Iraq's powerful Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force.

On the talks between India's Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif, the ambassador said, "My minister (Zarif) talked to Dr Jaishankar, they had a very good discussion. Recently we had the joint economic commission in Tehran...We see a very good future for the relationship. We have no problem with India."

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He said Iran and India can jointly work for peace in the world.

Asked if Indian officials have reached out to the Embassy with a condolence message, the Iranian envoy said the embassy had opened a condolence book for two days and he expects Indian officials to come but it is "up to the Indian side".

"Usually we have good relations and sympathy between the two countries," he said.