TEHRAN: Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Saturday offered to mediate tensions between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue. Zarif who was on a visit to New Delhi for the Heart of Asia ministerial conference said this during a media conference. “Tehran has excellent relationship with both India and Pakistan. We are ready for conciliation on Kashmir if both countries are willing on it,” he said. “If Iran can be of any help to any of them, we stand ready. We are not volunteering, but we stand ready because these two neighbours are extremely important to us and we share common ideals,” said the Iranian foreign minister. Noting that Iran has excellent relations with both the countries, said his country does not want to lose the existing bond. “We cannot lose that. That bond is too important, both with India and Pakistan,” he added. He said the three countries share common ideas of future democratic international system. “We hope we move forward to better relations between our very dear friends India and Pakistan,” he added. He also said that Iran is keen to assist in curbing tension between the two neighbours. Zarif affirmed that they are ready to play their role in minimizing the ongoing conflict. Tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours have escalated since the September 18 attack on an Indian army base. India falsely claimed that it had launched “surgical strikes” on militant bases across the heavily militarised de-facto border known as the Line of Control (LoC) in disputed Kashmir, however; Islamabad has denied and termed the assertion as baseless. Since then there have been repeated incidents of cross-border shelling and gunfire from Indian, claiming the lives of dozens of people, including civilians. Pakistan said last week that at least nine people had been killed when a shell fired from the Indian side hit a bus in Azad Kashmir’s Neelum valley. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said he was “deeply concerned” by the deterioration in the security situation in Kashmir and urged both countries to work together to “reach durable peace”. Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence from Britain in 1947. Both claim the territory in full and have fought two wars over the mountainous region.