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Pranab on Iran vote

External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee says India has voted against Iran at the IAEA to prevent the nuclear issue from going to the UN Security Council, reports Aloke Tikku.

india Updated: Dec 06, 2007 03:08 IST
Aloke Tikku

External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said India had voted against Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to prevent the nuclear issue from going to the UN Security Council and emphasised that the stand-off could not be resolved through ‘threats’ and ‘hurting’ Tehran's ‘national pride’.

Mukherjee’s assertion came in the middle of the discussion on of the India-US nuclear deal in Rajya Sabha where several critics of the deal had linked the Indian vote to growing US influence on Delhi’s foreign policy. “There is no denying the fact that we voted at IAEA against Iran. 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.

Mukherjee maintained that the International Atomic Energy Agency was the proper forum to resolve the vexed issue concerning the controversial nuclear programme of Iran.

“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.

Referring to India’s “civilisational links” with Iran, the minister said New Delhi wanted to avoid Tehran's nuclear issue from going to the Security Council and see if there could be a compromise.