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US clarifies N-deal clause on Iran
December 21, 2006 02:03 IST
The United States has said that the reporting requirements on Iran in the US-India civilian nuclear deal, signed into law by President George W Bush, does not impose any additional condition on New Delhi.
Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Richard Boucher said reporting requirements did not involve India and that the substance of cooperation with countries will be the bilateral agreement that is being negotiated, a fairly standard agreement in which third countries are not usually a part of.
"I don't know that it needs a particular amount of clarification. As far as I remember it ends up being in reporting language. No one in India should be surprised that the US Congress and the US government care about India's relationship with Iran, particularly when it comes to high technology exports in nuclear matter, military matters," he said.
Boucher said the US Congress wants that the American administration 'to report to them and it doesn't impinge on India because it doesn't involve India'.
"It's a report that we have to provide to our Congress on a issue that everybody knows we're interested in. So I don't see how that breaks any new ground for anybody in that matter," he said.
The senior administration official also made the point that the so-called 123 Agreement will be within the parameters set by the President and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and expressed confidence that this agreement will come through as soon as possible, a time-frame that is nevertheless hard to define in precise terms.
"Since it's the United States government and the Indian government that are going to negotiate it, since we're subject to the instructions of our president and they're subject to the instructions of their prime minister, I think both sides will work very hard to make it within the parameters that we've been given by our leaders," the senior official said.
Boucher said India has to negotiate its deal with the IAEA and that it is not in the hands of the US.
"We have to deal with the Nuclear Suppliers [Group]. We're looking at sort of next April, when the Nuclear Suppliers [Group] get together. Will we be ready by then? I frankly don't know but that's one moment and if not that moment then the next one. But some time in the next year I would hope we would be able to bring all these things together," he said.
Reflecting on the process that the civilian nuclear deal had endured in the last several months, Boucher was asked if at any time he thought the accord was going to slip.
"I personally didn't, because I guess I'm optimistic but also a bit naive. What I kept hearing from members of Congress is we want to support the relationship with India. We want to support a nuclear -- civil nuclear relationship with India, and we want to do it in a way that's consistent with what the president decided. And even when all these different amendments were thrown out that was the issue, and it was not we're against it, we're against cooperation with India; we're against nuclear cooperation with India. There was a group that was against nuclear cooperation with India and they made themselves known," Boucher said.
"We think it's a good deal for India and a good deal for the United States, a good deal for really the whole nonproliferation system and for India's relations with the West," Boucher said.