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Irked India lets Iran have it

The gloves are off. Or so it seemed on Monday when the Iranian National Security Adviser, Ali Larijani, sought to make an example of India's nuclear status as international double standards. India promptly hit back saying it regretted the reference.

india Updated: Jan 17, 2006 12:24 IST

The gloves are off. Or so it seemed on Monday when the Iranian National Security Adviser, Ali Larijani, sought to make an example of India's nuclear status as international double standards. India promptly hit back saying it regretted the reference.

The spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs, Navtej Sarna, said, "We have consistently maintained that it is a State's sovereign right to enter into treaties and international agreements. Every State must fully comply with its international obligations and commitments and in a transparent manner. This is perhaps the first clear reference to the lack of transparency in Iran's nuclear programme.

"India," Sarna said, "is a responsible nuclear weapon State and has always been in compliance with its obligations under international treaties and agreements."

"We regret this reference to India," Sarna said frostily, indicating that the gloves were off. Larijani was quoted as saying that the Americans did not trust Iran's nuclear programme because they fear that 10 years hence, Tehran could develop nuclear weapons.

But, in a statement that raised New Delhi's hackles, "compare that to India," Larijani said, in response to a question about why Iran is not trusted. "It (India) does have nuclear weapons but they have extensive relations in the nuclear field. This dual standard is detrimental to international security," Larijani said.

"Why should the world turn international right into a debate about intentions?" Larijani said.

First Published: Jan 17, 2006 12:24 IST