The confrontation between Iran and the United States on the opening day of the 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference at the United Nations ended up involving India, even though it is sitting out the conference since it is not a signatory to the Treaty.
The first salvo came from Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the only Head of State attending the conference, as he laid out a 10-point proposal on the issue.
In a fairly clear reference to the India-US civilian nuclear deal, he demanded “cessation of all kinds of nuclear cooperation with non-member states of NPT and adoption of effective punitive measures against all those states which continue their cooperation with such non-member states.” The target was certainly the US since India is not a member of the NPT regime.
India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Manjeev Puri said it was not his place to comment on a statement by a President but added, “Suffice it to say, India’s record on nonproliferation is impeccable, it has been recognised internationally, insofar as international agreements are in place in the IAEA.”
Reacting to Ahmadinejad’s statement, Deepti Choubey, Deputy Director of the Nonproliferation Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said, “definitely an attack on the United States but if President Ahmadinejad was a little bit more aware of some of the other developments occurring particularly between China and Pakistan, I wonder if he would have rethought some of his words.”
A senior diplomat said Iran hadn’t met its obligations under the NPT and was instead focusing on “extraneous” issues to divert attention from that fact.
K.C. Singh, former Indian ambassador to Iran, says Tehran has pushed for action against non-NPT signatory nations for five years.
Singh remembers having to object when senior Iranian officials in 2005 told a collection of ambassadors that countries that had not signed the NPT should be made to give up their nuclear weapons.
This was probably a swipe at Israel but would have affected India as well.