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No indication from Tehran to call off deal: India

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Last updated on: September 28, 2005 17:48 IST

With Iran threatening to reconsider its economic and trade ties with the countries that voted against its nuclear programme at IAEA, India on Wednesday said it has not been given any indication by Tehran to review its long-standing cooperation which was in the interest of both countries.

The government's clarification came following reports that Iran has conveyed that the $22-billion deal to supply LNG was off following India voting in favour of the IAEA resolution.

New Delhi had last week along with the US and EU voted on a resolution that would refer Iran to the UN Security Council for sanctions if Tehran did not abandon its nuclear programme.

In response to questions, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran had on Tuesday explained the background to India's decision during a meeting with Iranian Ambassador S Z Yaghoubi.

The importance which India attaches to maintaining traditionally close relations with Iran have also been reiterated, he said.

"We have been given no indication in these interactions of Iran's intentions to review its long-standing and extensive cooperation with India which of benefit to and in the interest of both countries," Sarna said.

Meanwhile, when asked about the reports that Iran had rejected the LNG deal with India following the IAEA vote, CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury said, "It shows as if we are sacrificing out vital national interests to keep the US happy."

On Tuesday too, India had said that its vote against Iran's nuclear plans will not affect the prospects of the proposed $7.4 billion Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline and its $22 billion deal to import LNG from Tehran.

"No, I do not believe current development would in anyway adversely affect the progress made on the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline or the import of liquefied natural gas," Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar told reporters in New Delhi.

On reports that India's envoy in Vienna had been told by his Iranian counterpart that the LNG deal, under which supplies were slated to start in 2009, is off, the spokesman said: "We are aware of the remarks."

He said: "We have also seen remarks made by the Iranian spokesman concerning economic cooperation with countries that had voted in favour of the resolution on the Iranian nuclear cooperation programme at the IAEA."

"We were very surprised by India," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Raza Asefi stated in Tehran. He said, "We will reconsider our economic cooperation, economic ties with the different countries who have acted in this regard rather hostile."

Asefi said Iran would send a letter of objection to the countries that voted for the resolution.

The government has contended that India's decision to support the resolution was aimed at averting a major confrontation between Iran and the international community.

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