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Left to boycott UPA meet over Iran

The Left parties have demanded debate in Parliament on India's stand on the Iran issue. What next for Iran?

india Updated: Feb 06, 2006 10:25 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

The Left parties on Sunday said they would boycott an upcoming coordination meeting with the ruling coalition to protest Iran vote.

Left termed India's nod to reporting Iran's nuclear programme to the UN Security Council a "regrettable stance of succumbing to US pressure."

The Left parties have also urged a "full debate" during the parliamentary session beginning this month on India's stand on the Iran issue.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat telephoned Congress leader Ahmed Patel after a meeting of the four Left parties to convey the boycott decision, informed sources said.

Patel is United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi's political secretary (UPA). The Left parties support the UPA from outside. The coordination meeting was to be held on Wednesday.

This the second time in the 20 months the Government has been in power that the Left will be staying away from coordination meetings with the UPA. It had boycotted them for six months last year to protest the Government's move to divest its stake in manufacturing major Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited.

The boycott apart, the Communists have also decided to "review" the UPA stance on different issues and consider what "steps" need to be taken in this regard, sources in the Left Front said.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Karat declared: "The stand taken by India (at Saturday's International Atomic Energy Agency meeting) is not in conformity with the pursuit of an independent foreign policy and the maintenance of good relations with Iran."

Questioning an IAEA resolution to report Iran's nuclear programme to the Security Council, Karat said this would "not be helpful" in resolving the issue through negotiations.

"In view of the regrettable stance of succumbing to US pressure, we demand a full debate in parliament ahead of the next meeting of the IAEA," Karat maintained. The meeting is to be held in March.

"The stand India takes at this meeting will be crucial," he added.

India on Saturday joined 26 countries in voting for what it termed a "well balanced" resolution, expressing concern that Iran's nuclear programme may not be "exclusively for peaceful purposes".

Three countries voted against and five abstained from voting on the resolution moved by the EU 3 - Britain, Germany and France - at the emergency meeting of the IAEA board of governors in Vienna.

Iran's supporters, Russia and China, however, succeeded in ensuring that no action would be taken till the next IAEA meeting in March at which the report of the nuclear watchdog's director general on the issue would be considered.

Karat said: "The Left parties reiterate that India should not be party to any referral to the Security Council nor countenance any recommendation for taking action against Iran" through the world body.

Leaders of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the Communist Party of India, the Revolutionary Socialist Party and the Forward Bloc attended the meeting.

Forward Bloc's G Devarajan, while speaking about the Government's political, economic and social policies, regretted that it was not heeding Left "concerns" but had been "going ahead with its own agenda".

Communist Party of India leader AB Bardhan supported him, saying the Left parties should review the Government's stand on different issues and decide what needed to be done in this regard.

First Published: Feb 05, 2006 10:45 IST