Can you give me a 101 on what is Iran’s foreign policy towards the Kashmir dispute ? and its relations with Pakistan ? How do they see India/Pak ?
Not many people know that Iran supports a small terrorist group (all Shia women suicide bombers, not very active) called “Duktaran-e-Millat” (Daughters of the nation) in Kashmir.
During Narasimha Rao’s tenure the OIC was about to pass a resolution to pressure India into accepting a UN sponsored plebiscite in Kashmir. The resolution was introduced by Benazir Bhutto and Pakistan had the backing of almost all the Muslim countries with a few deciding to abstain (it should not be forgotten that the resolution also the tacit approval of the US). For the resolution to be passed it needed not only the approval of most of the members but also no members should oppose the resolution. At India’s request Iran was the only country that vetoed against the resolution.
With Pakistan, Iran’s relation has been both hot and cold. Iran is Shia and Pakistan is Sunni. During Taliban rule over Afghanistan Iran and Pakistan were directly poised against each other. In fact Iran, India and Russia were supporting the Northern Alliance. Even today Indian supplies are routed via Iran rather than over Pakistan. Iran is basically maintaining a balance in its relationship between India and Pakistan, on one hand they have the nuclear cooperation with Pakistan and on the other hand they desperately would like to get Indian support. Iran is in danger of being isolated internationally (just like Iraq under Saddam). Indian support is their big ticket to not only end their isolation but also assume some amount of global importance. India being the only democratic country in the region, Indian approval of the Iranian regime gives them legitimacy that they can flaunt internationally. India is also their nearest and biggest market for oil. With Indian economic growth, India’s oil consumption will likely increase many fold. Our nearest source of oil is Iran (central Asian oil has been lost to China and Iraq is nowhere near stability). Whatever our relation with US and Israel, Iranian oil seems to be indispensable for India’s future economic growth.