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Indo-US N-deal won't impact Iran: Burns
Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington | March 09, 2006 10:02 IST
The Bush administration has rejected the notion that proceeding with the civilian nuclear energy agreement with India undercuts America's dealing with Iran on the issue. It has stressed that the United States looks at both cases differently.
Testifying before the Full International Relations Committee of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs said that unlike 'autocratic' Iran, India was not rejecting the International Atomic Energy Agency.
"Iran is autocratic and adversarial and one of the greatest threats to the world today. India is ready to bring the IAEA in for the first time to place safeguards on a great majority of Indian facilities. The Iranians are trying to kick the IAEA out," Burns said in response to a question.
"So these two countries are going in opposite directions, both in our relationship and with that of the IAEA," the senior administration official remarked.
Replying to queries about the kind of international support the nuclear deal with India had, he said the IAEA, France, United Kingdom and Australia have expressed support for the agreement.
"President Chirac, Prime Minister Blair, Prime Minister Howard and ElBaradei have all expressed support of the President's initiative with India," Burns said. "We think we are far better off bringing India into the non proliferation system. It is seeking inclusion while Iran is seeking exclusion," Burns added.
He also emphasised that India had voted along with the US at the IAEA on the Iran issue.
"The Europeans are solidly with us; Japan and Australia are with us. But most importantly India has voted twice with the United States at the IAEA against Iran," Burns said.
Along with Burns, Robert Joseph, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security also testified, saying that unlike India, Iran had signed the NPT and had comitted itself to the treaty.
"In terms of how Iran relates to Pakistan or India, Pakistan, Israel and India did not sign the NPT. Iran has signed the NPT. Iran has committed not to acquire nuclear weapons and yet it is clearly determined to do exactly that," Joseph remarked in response to a question.