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India commits support to Iran's peaceful nuke programme

By Sujit Chatterjee in Tehran
September 03, 2005 23:56 IST
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India on Saturday declared support to Iran's "peaceful" nuclear energy programme and made it clear that it should be within the framework of International Atomic Energy Agency guidelines.

"We support the pursuit by Iran of its peaceful nuclear energy programme in keeping with Iran's international obligations," External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh said after his hour-long meeting with Tehran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani on the nuclear issue.

Singh said, "We believe all sides should take steps to facilitate dialogue and resolve outstanding issuse within the framework of IAEA guidelines." He refused to take questions saying the matter was confidential.

Briefing reporters on the outcome of discussions on the nuclear issue, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said that the External Affairs minister would report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the deliberations on the nuclear front.

Asked for his reaction, Larijani said the nuclear programme was a "matter of national pride" for Iran.

IAEA has since February 2003 been investigating Iran on United States' charges that it was secretly developing nuclear weapons. Iran maintains that its nuclear programme is a peaceful effort to generate electricity.

Iran has said the criticism of the Islamic republic contained in the report of the United Nation's atomic energy watchdog IAEA released on Friday "was politically motivated".

Larijani, who was in New Delhi last week, has said Iran wanted to cooperate in a "serious way" with the IAEA and is committed to international regulations on nuclear proliferation.

"We are fully committed and bound by international regulations to the nuclear field," he had said adding, "what is important is to continue our cooperation in a serious way with the IAEA".

In India, the Iranian nuclear negotiator had held met the prime minister and held talks with Natwar Singh and National Security Adviser M K Narayanan.

Cooperation between "important countries like Iran and India" was essential for promoting regional security, Larijani said.

"The focus of our negotiations with India was on strategic relations, particularly in the field of energy and more particularly, on a natural gas pipeline and the liquefied natural gas supply to India," he said after meeting.

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Sujit Chatterjee in Tehran
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