India shows interest in mediating Iran-US row

TEHRAN, Feb. 02 (MNA) – The chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, a prominent member of Indian PM Narendra Modi's party, has suggested that the world is waiting for New Delhi to step into the row and reduce the tension between the US and Iran.

Speaking at a campaign rally in Rohini, to the northwest of New Delhi, on Saturday, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath argued that and it is time for India, which has become a major world power, to fill the void.

"Earlier, when small nations sparred over various issues, the United States would jump in,” Adityanath said.

"Now the difference is that... when the US and Iran are engaged in a dispute, the entire world is saying only India can mediate and resolve it.”

The official, however, fell short of clarifying whether India is willing to pick up the baton, presumably dropped by Washington, in earnest.

Adityanath has been the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh since March 2017, and has repeatedly been recognized as one of the best at his job. A January Mood of the Nation (MOTN) poll commissioned by India Today identified him as the best-performing chief minister in the country, and the only representative of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) among top seven spots.

Tensions between Iran and the US have been running high since the US assassinated a top Iranian general – commander of the Iranian elite Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani – in a drone strike at Baghdad Airport on January 3. The murder sparked mass protests in Iraq and Iran, which retaliated by targeting two US bases in Iraq. Although US President Trump claimed that the tit-for-tat attack did not result in any casualties among American troops, it was later revealed that at least 50 US servicemen have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries.

While it's unclear whether New Delhi, which is on good terms with both Tehran and Washington, is poised to make an official offer, Iran has already hinted that it would welcome such a proposal.

“We welcome all initiatives from all countries, especially India as a good friend for us, to not allow escalation [of tensions],” Iranian Ambassador to India Ali Chegeni said in January.

India itself has been wary of US attempts to stick its nose into the decades-long territorial dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir. While Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan called for the US to mediate in the row, with Trump suggesting he might be up for the role on several occasions, India has said it would not accept meditation, insisting the Kashmir issue should be discussed on a bilateral basis.

Previously, Pakistan also indicated that it would be ready to mediate between Washington and Tehran.


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