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No double standards in dealing with Iran, India: Bush
March 23, 2006 09:42 IST
Praising India as a "proven non-proliferator", US President George W Bush has asserted that there are no "double standards" in dealing with Iran and India on the issue of civilian nuclear energy.
"My attitude is that over 30 years they (India) have proven themselves to be a non-proliferator, that they're a transparent democracy; it's in our interest that they develop nuclear power -- to help their economy grow -- they need power and they need energy to do so -- and they're willing to go under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is an international forum to make sure that there are certain safeguards," Bush said.
"The Iranians are a non-transparent society. They're certainly not a democracy. They are sponsors of terrorism. They have joined the IAEA, and yet we caught them cheating. In other words, they weren't upholding the agreements, and they started to try to enrich uranium in order to develop a weapons programme. India is heading to the IAEA; the Iranians are ignoring IAEA", he said.
Bush was replying to a question on the "double standards" at an interactive session at Wheeling, West Virginia.
The president maintained that it is in America's interest if India uses nuclear power.
"It's in our interests that India use nuclear power to power their economic growth because, as I told you, there is a global connection between demand for fossil fuels elsewhere and price here. And so I went to India and I said we ought to encourage you to use nuclear power," Bush said.
"I have said that I support the Russian proposal that says the Iranians should have a civilian nuclear industry, however Russia and other suppliers would give them the enriched -- the product necessarily to power their industry and collect the spent fuel, but not enable the Iranians to learn how to enrich in order to develop a weapons programme," Bush added.
He reiterated that Iran with nuclear weapons poses a threat.
"However, in that the Iranians are non-transparent, in that they are hostile to the United States and hostile to allies, we've got to be very careful about not letting them develop a weapon. And so we're now dealing with this issue diplomatically by having the Germans and the French and the British send a clear message to the Iranians, with our strong backing, that you will not have the capacity to make a weapon, the know-how to make a weapon. Iran with a nuclear weapon is a threat, and it's dangerous, and we must not let them have a weapon," he added.