India on Wednesday asked the United States not to take the responsibility of deciding if Iran was manufacturing nuclear weapons, in comments that came a day after its sharp reaction to Washington's advice on bilateral relations with Teheran.
"We are advising Iran that since it is a signatory of NPT, it has some obligation to international treaties. We tell the US, do not take on yourself the responsibility whether Iran was manufacturing weapons or not. Leave it to the IAEA, the designated authority," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said interacting with reporters at an orientation programme for Parliamentary reporting.
"It is not for me or for Iran to certify. It is for the IAEA to convince themselves whether (Tehran's programme) is peaceful," he said, a day after his ministry spokesman said neither India nor Iran needed any guidance on the future conduct of bilateral relations.
The MEA's response to US State Department spokesman Tom Casey's advice to India to counsel Iranian President Ahmednijad, during his stopover here, that his country should meet the requirements the UN Security Council and international community has placed in terms of suspending their uranium enrichment activities and on their nuclear programme.
To a query over Casey's advice, Mukherjee said his ministry spokesperson has already responded to it and that is "correct". The issue also found mention in Parliament on Wednesday with CPI(M) members in the Lok Sabha asking the government to condemn a US statement that India should tell Iran to "meet the requirements of the UN Security Council" on its nuclear programme during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's upcoming visit in New Delhi.