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PRESS RELEASE


Iranian President Declares May 23 To Be the ‘Day of Chabahar’

May 24, 2016 (EIRNS)—Yesterday, Iranian President Dr. Hassan Rouhani declared that May 23 will henceforth be called the "Day of Chabahar" to commemorate the signing of the historic trilateral Chabahar agreement by India, Iran, and Afghanistan to develop the Chabahar port and related industries in southeastern Iran. Speaking at a trilateral summit, Rouhani underscored that "this is a very important day for Iranians and from now on it is going to be even more important, because today is going to mark the day of cooperation among the three of us, Iran, India, and Afghanistan." Both Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani were present for the signing.

On Monday Rouhani said India’s relationship with Iran starts with Chabahar today, but will end with all-out comprehensive development, economic, and cultural cooperation. "Of course, the symbol of such cooperation is Chahbahar and Bahar means Spring and it is a Spring for the three of us," he added. President Rouhani emphasized that with the joint investments in Chahbahar, his country could connect India through a reliable route to Afghanistan and also to those countries in central Asia and even to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries.

"Today’s document is not just an economic document. It is actually a political and regional one, and its message is that countries need to utilize the opportunities provided by the region in order to develop and also expand regional cooperation,"

Rouhani added.

Adding another dimension to the discussion, Prime Minister Modi emphasized the important cultural ties which India and Iran share. Speaking yesterday at the "International Conference on Retrospect and Prospect" of Indian and Iranian relations, where he released a Persian translation of the Sanskrit Panchatantra, he said that,

"a part of Iranian culture lives in Indian hearts. The richness of Persian heritage is an integral part of the fabric of Indian society and the time has come for us to regain the past glory of traditional ties and links between India and Iran."

(The Panchatantra is a collection of Sanskrit fables, in prose and verse, written around 200 B.C.—ed.)

Modi asserted that as two ancient civilizations, New Delhi and Tehran are known for their ability to be inclusive and welcoming to foreign cultures, and went on to discuss the Persian manuscript Kalileh-wa-Dimneh, a translation of the Panchatatra done a by Ibn al-Muqaffa.

"The great medieval poets of India have called Persian and Sanskrit two sisters," Modi explained. He also highlighted the Sufism connection between India and Iran, explaining that

"Sufism, a rich product of our ancient links, carried its message of true love, tolerance and acceptance to the entirety of mankind."

The spirit of Sufism, he added, "is also reflected in the Indian concept of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,’ the World as one family."