Tehran criticizes Georgia for handing over Iranian national to U.S.

January 19, 2010 - 0:0

TEHRAN - In separate meetings with Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze on Monday, the Iranian officials criticized Georgia for handing over an Iranian national to the United States.

Iranian citizen Amir Hossein Ardebili was arrested in Tbilisi 2007 and extradited to the U.S. under a charge that he was trying to purchase components for Iranian fighter planes.
Ali Larijani, Iran’s Majlis speaker, said certain moves by Georgia such as handing over Ardebili to the United States have become of source of concern which should be rectified.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki also called the action an “improper” decision by Georgia.
The Georgian foreign minister said his country apologizes for extraditing the Iranian national to the U.S., blaming the unfavorable political condition in his country at the time, which led to such a decision.
Amicable ties
Larijani said Iran and Georgia have enjoyed good relations and this trend should be strengthened.
Larijani also said regional crises should be resolved by regional countries themselves, noting that the presence of foreign powers will only exacerbate crises.
Vashadze also called Iran an important country in the region and a friend of Georgia.
Tbilisi and Tehran have taken an active step to expand cooperation, Vashadze said, adding Georgia attaches great importance to its ties with Iran.
Vashadze also said there is no military solution to the Afghanistan crisis, saying finding a diplomatic solution with the help of the country’s neighbors including Iran is possible.
He also delivered messages from the Georgian president and parliament speaker to Larijani to visit Tbilisi.
Georgia firm to strengthen ties with Iran
In his meeting with Mottaki, Vashadze said senior Georgian officials are aware of Iran’s status in the region and are determined to establish close ties with Tehran.
He also said the ties between the two countries can serve as an example and nothing can impede it.
He also expressed his country’s interest to develop economic, political and cultural relations with Iran.
“We are interested to expand cooperation with Iran in energy fields, building power plants in Georgia, transportation…,” the Georgian minister explained.
He also lauded Iran for its position toward the armed conflict between Georgia and Russia over South Ossetia last year, saying Tehran’s “carefully-thought and principled policy” over the issue was praiseworthy.
Regional solution for lasting security in Caucasus
In a separate meeting with Vashadze, Iran’s national security chief said it is necessary to find regional ways to establish durable security in the Caucasus region.
Saeed Jalili, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said Tehran pursues a strategic balanced policy in resolving regional disputes.
“Based on such strategic approach Iran has always sought to settle problems in the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Persian Gulf region,” Jalili noted.