Iran’s top nuclear negotiator on talks with Indian leaders

Iran's top nuclear negotiator held talks with Indian leaders on Wednesday to garner support for Tehran's controversial nuclear program and stave off a threat of sanctions, Indian officials said.

Ali Larijani's two-day visit to the Indian capital came days ahead of a trip to Tehran by Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh, aimed at building contacts with Iran's new leadership.

India is facing a delicate balancing act as it tries to maintain a longstanding friendship with Iran while moving closer to Washington, which wants Tehran to halt what it says is a secret nuclear weapons program.

India has so far merely said that Iran should abide by its international obligations but has refused to join Western condemnation of its nuclear program, reports Reuters.

According to Financial Express, Mr Larijani reaffirmed that Iran was committed to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which he said allows Tehran to process and enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. “We are fully committed and bound by international regulations relating to the nuclear field,” Mr Larijani told reporters after talks with Mr Singh. “The focus of our negotiations with India was on our strategic relations. We also discussed ways of working together in the international arena,” he said.

Mr Larijani’s visit comes after negotiations between Iran and the European Union over resolving the nuclear row broke down this month when Tehran rejected an offer of incentives in return for a suspension of sensitive nuclear work. The move to call off the talks marked a breakdown in two years of negotiations and has raised the threat of sanctions against Iran.

India, which conducted nuclear tests in 1998, has not openly criticised Iran but said that it should abide by its international obligations.

The two countries enjoy good relations and have been focussed on a possible project to pipe natural gas from Iran through Pakistan to India, informs BBC.

"The focus of our negotiations with India was on strategic relations, particularly in the field of energy and, more particularly, on a natural gas pipeline and the liquefied natural gas supply to India," the Associated Press quotes him as saying.

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