Iranian Envoy Skips Reference to JK, Disappoints Separatists

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    SRINAGAR: Iranian envoy Gholam Reza Ansari made no reference to the Kashmir issue during his speech at a seminar organised by a constituent of the moderate Hurriyat Conference but visited separatist hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
    Reza arrived here on Wednesday to attend functions organised by Shia groups in the Valley to mark the 25th death anniversary of the founder of Iran’s Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini.

    Reza, Mirwaiz and many separatist leaders and activists attended the seminar on Thursday.

    In his speech, Mirwaiz appealed to the Iranian Government to use its influence on India to resolve the Kashmir issue. He said Iran had good relations with India and that country could play a vital role in solving the Kashmir dispute.

    However, the Iranian envoy in his 15-minute speech made no reference to Kashmir or the Kashmiri people, leaving his hosts red-faced.

    Reza talked about the relationship between India and Pakistan, the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and world peace. “Muslim countries should come forward and work together for the promotion of peace. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Syria, Turkey, Iraq and other Muslim nations should promote cordial relation among themselves. They should work together for peace and amity for the good of Muslims across the globe,” he said. The Iranian envoy recited some Persian couplets praising Kashmir’s natural beauty but refrained from talking about the political issue.

    A senior separatist leader present at the seminar said separatists were surprised and embarrassed that the envoy didn’t talk about the Kashmir issue. “Reza didn’t want to annoy India with which his country has close ties,” he added.

    Ayaz Akbar, spokesperson of Geelani’s Hurriyat faction, said being a diplomat, Reza might have had limitations. “He visited the residence of Geelani in Srinagar this morning and talked in detail about the Kashmir issue. He said Iran supports the peaceful settlement of the Kashmir issue as per the wishes and aspirations of Kashmiri people,” Akbar said.

    Senior separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah termed unfortunate the skipping of Kashmir reference.

    Iranian Envoy Skips Reference to JK, Disappoints Separatists - The New Indian Express
     
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