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India Rejects US Comments on Iran


India's Foreign Ministry says it does not need any guidance on handling its relationship with Iran, ahead of a visit this month by Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The ministry statement Tuesday was in response to a U.S. State Department spokesman's comments on Monday. Answering a reporter's question whether the U.S. has concerns about India's invitation to the Iranian president, Tom Casey said it is up to every country to decide how to conduct its bilateral relations.

Casey said Washington hopes all governments that engage with Iran will press the country to meet United Nations' requirements and abandon its controversial nuclear activities. He added he would also encourage India to ask Iran to end what he termed "unhelpful activities" in Iraq.

India rejected the suggestions, saying it is perfectly capable of managing its centuries' old relationship with Iran.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries suffered after 2005, when New Delhi supported an International Atomic Energy Agency vote that found Iran in non-compliance with its international nuclear obligations.

Talks during this month's visit are expected to focus on energy issues, including a proposed Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline that the United States strongly opposes.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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