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US hopes India will help prevent Iran going nuclear

By Arun Kumar, IANS

Washington : The United State hopes that India would continue to support international efforts to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and being a destabilising factor in the region.

While the US can’t tell India with which country it should have diplomatic relations it has asked New Delhi to keep these considerations in mind when moving forward with any relationship with the Iranian government, State Department Deputy spokesman Tom Casey said Tuesday.

Asked to comment about a reported comment by Indian ambassador to the US, Ronen Sen, that India-Iran relations should not be an obstacle in the India-US civil nuclear deal, Casey noted that Washington’s chief negotiator on the deal, Nick Burns, had already talked about the issue.

“Certainly, India, like any other country in the world, is free to establish diplomatic relations with whatever countries they want. And the United States is not going to be in a position to make those determinations for others.

“We have some unique issues in terms of Iran. But what we would hope is that India would continue, as it has in the past, to support the broader international community effort to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and to prevent Iran from being a destabilizing factor in the region.

“And when we have discussions with our Indian friends, certainly, what we tell them and what we ask them is to keep those kinds of considerations in mind in terms of any relationship that they do move forward with the Iranian Government,” Casey said.

In reply to another question about Iran, the official said US intended to continue to pursue an additional UN Security Council resolution against Tehran, barring any willingness on its part to suspend its nuclear programme and move forward with the conditions placed upon them.

He was not aware that any other country, including US’ P-5+1 partners, has suggested that some “small gestures towards the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) changed their view about the need for Iran’s overall compliance or about the need for us to go forward with what was stated in those previous resolutions,” Casey said.

“But the one thing that is clear to us is that the P-5+1 consensus that was established back in Paris continues to hold. And the Russians, as much as anyone else, continue to believe that the Iranians need to meet their obligations before they can have a chance of really having a normal relationship with the rest of the world, when it comes to nuclear issues,” Casey said.