Vol. 5 Num 591 Thu. January 26, 2006  
Front Page

Dump Iran or nuke deal will die
US warns India

United States has warned that India's support to Iran could have a "devastating" effect on the future of the nuclear deal.

The Indo-US nuclear deal initiative will "die" if New Delhi did not vote against Tehran's nuclear programme, US said on Wednesday, just a week ahead of the IAEA meeting on Iran issue.

"We have made it known to them (India) that we would very much like India's support because India has arrived on the world stage and is a very very important player in the world," US Ambassador to India David C Mulford said in New Delhi.

Washington also feels that the ideas put forth by India on separation of its civilian and military nuclear establishments had not met the "test of credibility" and the negotiations process need to be completed before President George W Bush's visit here in March failing which the "historic opportunity" would be "much less practical".

"If it (India) opposes Iran having nuclear weapons, we think they should record it in the vote," he said.

Mulford's observations come amid intensified efforts by the US and the EU-3 (Britain, France and Germany) to seek world support for the resolution to be placed at the February two of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting for referring Iran's nuclear issue to the UN Security Council for action.

The US envoy said an "observation" had also been conveyed to India that if New Delhi decides not to vote for the resolution, "the effect on members of the US Congress with regard to (Indo-US) civil nuclear initiative will be devastating.

Meanwhile, Iran's top nuclear negotiator said yesterday that Tehran views Moscow's offer to have Iran's uranium enriched in Russia as a positive development but no agreement has been reached between the countries.

Chief negotiator Ali Larijani also reiterated Iran's threat to renew enrichment activities if it is referred to the UN Security Council.

Moscow has proposed having Iran's uranium enriched in Russia, then returned to Iran for use in the country's reactors a compromise that could provide more oversight and ease tensions with the United States and European Union over Iran's nuclear programme.

Haggling has continued over the specifics of the proposal, including Tehran's proposal to have China involved in the Russian enrichment process.

After talks with Russian Security Council chief Igor Ivanov, which included discussion of the plan, Larijani told a news conference: "Our view of this offer is positive, and we are trying to bring the positions of the sides closer."

"This plan can be perfected in the future, during further talks that will be held in February," he said.

Larijani suggested it would take some time to work out details of Russia's proposal. Some critics allege the Iranians are using the proposal to stall for time as Western diplomatic pressure on Tehran mounts over its alleged nuclear weapons programme. (PTI, AP)