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Tehran not 'non-compliant': India

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September 25, 2005 20:04 IST

India, which supported the European Union resolution on Iran's nuclear issue at the International Atomic Energy Agency meeting in Vienna on Saturday, has clearly expressed its opposition to Tehran being declared as non-compliant with its safeguards agreements. India also disagreed that the current situation could constitute a threat to international peace and security.

In its explanation of its vote on the draft resolution on the Iran nuclear issue at the meeting of IAEA governing board, the Indian delegation said there were elements in the draft with which it has 'difficulty'. It contended that the draft recognises that 'good progress has been made in Iran's correction of the breaches and in the IAEA's ability to confirm certain aspects of Iran's current delcarations'.

The Indian note said that 'in view of this, finding Iran non-compliant in the context of Article XII-C of the Agency's Statute is not justified'. It  would also not be accurate to characterise the current situation as a threat to international peace and security, it said.

The IAEA's board had approved a resolution that, for the time being, agreed to keep the matter within the purview of the IAEA but sets up Iran for future referral to the UN Security Council. Board members Russia and China, which are also veto-wielding Security Council members, had abstained, along with 10 other nations, all of them developing countries.

The Indian delegation contended that the draft has addressed New Delhi's two major preoccupations. Firstly, it noted that India has, all along, been advocating that more time be given to explore all possible avenues for reaching a satisfactory solution of the issues.

The draft resolution has conceded that by leaving it to the next board meeting to take a decision concerning how to handle this matter, the note said.

Secondly, it was pointed out that India was opposed to the issue being referred to the United Nations Security Council at this stage 'because we did not believe that this was justified in the circumstances'.

The note said - 'We welcome the fact that the draft resolution, despite our reservations, is based on the premise that the intervening period will be used by all concerned to expand the diplomatic space to satisfactorily address all outstanding issues. India supports keeping the door open for dialogue and consensus and avoidance of confrontation'.

The Indian side was of the view that the IAEA board has dealt with this matter so far through a series of consensus resolutions.

 'We would have preferred to maintain that tradition. Our objective has been to enable the IAEA to fulfil its mandate in Iran in the most efficient manner possible and to give the international community the confidence it needs in accordance with the relevant safeguard agreements', the note said.

Welcoming the cooperation Tehran has been extending to the IAEA to fulfil its mandate, the Indian note said that Iran has, at the highest level, declared that it does not aspire to acquire nuclear weapons capability.

Emphasising that this was a solemn assurance that the international community should take note of, it said, 'Iran has the inalienable right to pursue a peaceful nuclear energy programme and we must respect that right'.

The Indian delegation expressed confidence that, in the coming days, a way would be found to reconcile Iran's need for nuclear energy for its development with the international community's concern over proliferation.

It was conveyed that India would be prepared to work together with the members of the IAEA board to facilitate a satisfactory outcome in this regard. New Delhi has all along been supportive of the EU-3 initiative (comprising France, Germany and Britain) to negotiate a fair and reasonable understanding with Iran on this issue.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had discussed the issue with French President Jacques Chirac earlier this month in Paris and the two leaders had agreed that all diplomatic avenues needed to be explored to deal with the issue and a 'confrontation' should be avoided.

"Our vote for the EU-3 resolution is consistent with our stated position," an External Affairs Ministry spokesperson said.

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