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'Don't compare India and Iran'

Burns said unlike Iran, India was not rejecting the IAEA.

india Updated: Mar 10, 2006 12:14 IST

UShas rejected the notion that proceeding with the civilian nuclear energy agreement with India undercuts America's dealing with Iran on the issue.

Testifying before the Full International Relations Committee of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns stressed that the US looked at both the cases differently.

Burns also said that unlike "autocratic" Iran, India was not rejecting the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"Iran is autocratic and adversarial and one of the greatest threats to the world today. India, ... Is ready to bring the IAEA in for the first time to place safeguards on a great majority of Indian facilities. The Iranians are trying to kick the IAEA out," Burns said in response to a question.

"So these two countries are going in opposite directions, both in our relationship and with that of the IAEA," the senior administration official remarked.

Replying to queries as to the kind of international support the nuclear deal with India had, he said the IAEA, France, United Kingdom and Australia have expressed support for the agreement.

"(French) President (Jacques) Chirac, (British) Prime Minister (Tony) Blair, (Australian) Prime Minister (John) Howard and (IAEA chief Mohammed) ElBaradei have all expressed support of the President's initiative with India," Burns said.

"We think we are far better off bringing India into the non-proliferation system... India is seeking inclusion; Iran is seeking exclusion," Burns added.

The Under Secretary of State also emphasised that India had voted along with the US at the IAEA on the Iran issue.

"The Europeans are solidly with us; Japan and Australia are with us. But most importantly India has voted twice with the United States at the IAEA against Iran," Burns said.

Along with Burns, the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Robert Joseph also testified, saying that unlike India, Iran had signed the NPT and had committed itself to the treaty.

"In terms of how Iran relates to Pakistan or India: Pakistan, Israel and India did not sign the NPT. Iran has signed the NPT. Iran has committed not to acquire nuclear weapons and yet it is clearly determined to do exactly that," Joseph remarked in response to a question.