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'Rejecting Indo-US deal not going to prevent Iran's decisions'

The expert warned that such a "futile gesture" would have a devastating effect on Indo-US ties.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2006 11:20 IST

Even if US Congress rejects the Indo-US civil nuclear deal citing possible harm on efforts to halt Iran's suspected atomic weapons programme, it would have no effect on Tehran's decisions, an expert has said.

The expert warned that such a "futile gesture" would have a devastating effect on Indo-US ties.

"Were Congress somehow to reject the Administration's deal in some effort to maintain a consistent principle on non-proliferation, it would have no effect on Iran's decisions. But that futile gesture would have a devastating effect on US relations with India," said Robert Kagan, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"In our less-than-ideal world, where we are often told America needs good friends and allies, that would be a terrible bargain," he wrote in The Washington Post.

He said some in Congress would argue that the Indo-US deal "harms efforts to halt Iran's nuclear weapons programme because it erects a double standard: We are willing to let India do what we are not willing to let Iran do."

But "the notion that the Indian deal will set back prospects for a diplomatic deal with Iran assumes that such prospects exist. All available evidence suggests otherwise."

"The Iranian government appears committed to building nuclear weapons and will not be deterred by threats -- except possibly the threat of removal by military means -- or won over by blandishments. It has risked international isolation and economic sanctions and even the remote threat of US air and missile strikes to keep its programme going.

"Are we supposed to believe that the main obstacle standing in the way of a happy resolution to the Iranian nuclear crisis is now the Indian deal?" he wrote.