CPI-M irked by US envoy's stand on Iran

The CPI-M termed Mulford's remarks a serious affront to India.

india Updated: Jan 26, 2006 21:37 IST

India's leading communist on Thursday took umbrage at US attempts to arm twist the country on Iran's nuclear programme, terming these a "serious affront" to India and its sovereignty.

In a statement, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) said remarks by US Ambassador David Mulford "confirm that the Indian government was pressurised on September 25, 2005 to vote against Iran in the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)".

"It also raises serious apprehensions regarding the nuclear cooperation deal being negotiated with the US," the party said.

The CPI-M has consistently said India should not back any US attempts to curb Iran's civil nuclear programme.

Pointing out that the Government needed to restore its "credibility" on the issue, the CPI-M demanded a "categorical statement that India will not countenance a reference to the UN Security Council on the Iran nuclear issue".

The CPI-M also said the Government "should make public all the details of the proposals for nuclear cooperation and separation of civilian and military facilities which have been submitted to the US".

Mulford, in an interview on Wednesday, had said: "If it (India) opposes Iran having nuclear weapons, we think they should record it in the vote."

He also said he had conveyed to India that if New Delhi did not vote for the resolution, "the effect on members of the US Congress with regard to (the India-US) civil nuclear initiative will be devastating".

India immediately asserted there was no link between its stand on the Iran nuclear issue and the India-US nuclear deal, and maintained that its position at an IAEA meeting next month will be based on "independent judgment".

The IAEA has convened an emergency meeting on February 2 for a vote on whether to refer Iran's nuclear programme to the UN Security Council for Tehran's alleged violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Pressure on New Delhi has been steadily increasing from the US and the European Union (EU) troika - Britain, France and Germany - to support a referral of Tehran's nuclear programme to the Security Council.

But Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran had clarified that India was against confrontation and wanted a resolution of the issue through dialogue and diplomacy.

First Published: Jan 26, 2006 20:03 IST