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Thursday, December 6, 2007

IAEA proper forum to resolve Iran's N-issue: Pranab

Contending that India had voted against Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency to prevent its nuclear issue from going to the United Nations Security Council, the government on Wednesday said that the stand-off would not be resolved through threats and hurting Tehran's national pride.
Replying to a debate on the India-United States nuclear agreement in Rajya Sabha, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee maintained that the IAEA is the proper forum to resolve the vexed issue concerning Iran's controversial nuclear programme.
"There is no denying the fact that we voted against Iran at IAEA. The intention was to ensure that its nuclear issue does not go to the Security Council as it would entail sanctions and more problems," he said while rejecting allegations that India's foreign policy was being affected by the Indo-US nuclear deal.
Noting that India had civilisational links with Iran, Mukherjee said New Delhi wanted to avoid Tehran's nuclear issue from going to the Security Council and see if there could be a compromise.
"Iran is an old civilisation. It is a proud nation...It is not that these issues will be resolved by threatening them and hurting their national pride," he said.
There has been some progress on negotiations between Iran and the IAEA and India has to collaborate with other countries to help defuse the stand-off between Iran and the west, the minister said adding that efforts in this direction are underway.
The US and other western countries have been pushing for tougher sanctions against Iran to force it to abandon its nuclear programme, which the West suspects is for assembling atomic weapons.

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