Reuters: India’s stand on a likely vote to send Iran to the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear programme would depend on the wording of the resolution put to the U.N. nuclear watchdog, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Wednesday.
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s stand on a likely vote to send Iran to the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear programme would depend on the wording of the resolution put to the U.N. nuclear watchdog, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Wednesday.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meets on Thursday to discuss Iran’s nuclear programme which the West sees as a front to build weapons — a charge Tehran strongly denies.
A joint statement by the permanent members of the Security Council on Tuesday said they favoured sending Iran’s case to the council, a move that could lead to sanctions.
India’s stand at the IAEA meeting is being keenly watched in light of improving ties with the United States, especially after a landmark deal to resume civil nuclear energy cooperation after a three-decade ban.
“This (India’s stand) will depend on the kind of resolution on which the voting will take place,” Singh said at a nationally televised annual news conference.
“We will think it over and keep in mind our national interest and that will be our attitude to any such resolution.”
Singh said the permanent give statement was a “significant development” and that efforts were on for a consensus.
“I still believe this is a matter which should be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue,” he said.
“Our broad position is Iran is signatory to the NPT (nuclear non-proliferation treaty). Therefore, it is entitled to all the rights that go with the membership of the NPT.
“And that simultaneously it must fulfil all the obligations also that go with it.”
An old ally of Iran, New Delhi surprised Tehran last September when it sided with the West after the IAEA declared Iran had not fulfilled its international obligations.
U.S. ambassador to New Delhi David Mulford told an Indian news agency last week the nuclear deal could “die” if India did not vote against Iran at the IAEA.
Mulford later said he had been quoted out of context, but he was summoned by the foreign ministry where he reportedly expressed regret.
The nuclear deal, agreed during a visit by Singh to Washington last July, seeks to reverse a 30-year ban on nuclear cooperation with India, which has tested nuclear weapons.
Talks are on between the two sides on a key requirement of the deal — a separation plan for India’s civil and nuclear facilities.
The deal, which both sides want seal before a March visit by U.S. President George W. Bush, has to pass through the 44-member Nuclear Suppliers Group and also the U.S. Congress.
Asked how far India would be willing to “bend” to secure the deal, Singh said there was “no question of bending”.
He allayed fears negotiations on the nuclear deal could also upset India-U.S. relations.