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'India-IAEA agreement worse than useless'

July 11, 2008 03:23 IST

A senior Democratic lawmaker has slammed the India-IAEA Safeguards agreement as 'worse than useless' and said there were loopholes in the agreement that contradicted promises made by the Bush administration. 

The India-IAEA Safeguards Agreement

"The India-IAEA safeguards agreement is worse than useless; it is a sham. Safeguards agreements should ensure a bright red line between civilian and military nuclear facilities. Instead, this agreement lays out a path for India to unilaterally remove international safeguards from reactors," said Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey.

Markey is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the founder and co-chair of the House Bipartisan Task Force on Non Proliferation. He has been opposing the nuclear deal from the very beginning.

Coverage: Indo-US Nuclear Tango

"This pathetic safeguards agreement not only seriously undermines the Non-Proliferation Treaty, but it also sends the exact wrong message to Iran: that international nuclear safeguards are only for show. With this agreement, the IAEA has thrown its principles out the window and has abandoned its most important responsibilities," he said.

"Contrary to everything the Bush administration has claimed about the US-India nuclear deal, if this safeguards agreement is approved, India will be allowed to make electricity one day and bombs the next," he added.

'Not enough time to pass n-deal in US '

Markey has pointed out that the Bush Administration pledged to Congress repeatedly that the IAEA safeguards agreement would be permanent and not allow India to take facilities out of safeguards for any reason.

On April 5, 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [Images] testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that 'once a reactor is under IAEA oversight, safeguards will be in place permanently and without any conditions'.

Special: The Indo-US nuclear deal explained

"The Hyde Act, which the Congress passed govern nuclear transfers to India, also requires that the IAEA safeguards agreement be in perpetuity," he said.

"Rice testified before Congress that safeguards on Indian nuclear facilities would be 'permanent' not 'as long as India wants'.

She and the Bush Administration will need to answer to Congress as to why this safeguards agreement is the complete opposite from what they told us it would be.

"This safeguards agreement contradicts what the Bush Administration has said for three years, and it contradicts the law," Markey said.

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