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US, a factor for India to vote against Iran at IAEA: Saran

Last Updated: Monday, March 21, 2011 - 18:47

New Delhi: The US was one of the "factors"
for India`s decision to vote against Iran at the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in September 2005, former Foreign
Secretary Shyam Saran has said.

He also said that India was involved in many of the
discussions to try to bring the Iranians as well as the
Europeans and at a distance the US on to the same platform so
that there would be no vote on the resolution.

"No, there are.... Whenever you are taking a decision on a
sensitive issue like this, you have to consider a number of
factors and the US factor, the fact that a friendly country
which was very deeply concerned about the Iranian nuclear
programme was making that intervention with us, was one of the
inputs but there were other things as well," Saran told Karan
Thapar for `Devil`s Advocate` on CNN IBN channel.

He was responding to queries on revelation by WikiLeaks
that India`s decision to vote along side the United States
against Iran at the IAEA in September 2005 happened under
American pressure.

However, Saran said, "the American intervention with us
was not the only reason which made us vote in favour of the
resolution at the end."

"No! I think it is again a very incomplete picture of what
led to the vote in IAEA. Firstly, as far as our decision to
vote for that resolution was concerned, we were also mindful
of the fact we wanted there to be a full accounting by Iran to
the IAEA with respect to its nuclear programme.

"Why? Because of the fact that Iran`s nuclear programme
was linked to Pakistan, was linked to the Democratic People’s
Republic of Korea and I think it was in India`s interest that
they should come out in the open," he said.

Saran also dismissed suggestions that the US had influenced
the decision to replace Mani Shanker Aiyer as Petroleum
Minister in the Cabinet reshuffle of 2006 and said "it was
outrageous" to even claim so.c

"I think Mr Mulford had a rather exaggerated notion of the
kind of influence that the United States of America exercises
in India. That may be his sense but I think that is arrogance
that a country like India would be making Cabinet changes or
will be dismissing or appointing ministers at the behest of
the United States of America. This is outrageous," Saran said.

He was asked about the then US Ambassador David Mulford`s
claim, as per leaked US diplomatic cables, that Aiyer was
replaced in the Cabinet reshuffle of 2006 as Petroleum
Minister by Murli Deora to ensure US-India relations continued
to move ahead.

Saran also talked about the US making a number of
interventions with India on the issue of Iran gas pipeline
saying the pipeline is not something that we would support
because it would in some way strengthen the Iranians with
increased energy income.

"Our response to them always was whether or not India will
go ahead and conclude such a deal would be dependent upon its
economic viability and also the fact that the routing of such
a pipeline would be through some very, very disturbed
territory," he said.


First Published: Monday, March 21, 2011 - 18:47

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