India votes against Iran's nuclear plan

IAEA passes resolution demanding Tehran stop uranium enrichment

This was India’s third vote in the IAEA body against Iran’s alleged clandestine nuclear weapons programme, the last two votes being in September 2005 and February 2006.

Delhi’s latest anti-Iran vote was prompted by Tehran’s revelation in September last of a second nuclear enrichment plant.

Justifying the vote on the governing body resolution in Vienna, the external affairs ministry spokesman, who is travelling with the prime minister here, said: “Our support for the resolution was based on the key points contained in the report of the Director General.”

IAEA director general Mohammed ElBaradei has stated in his report that all efforts to negotiate with Iran to address the international community’s concern over its clandestine enrichment programme had reached a “dead end”.

Iran is a signatory to the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a non-nuclear weapons state. Thus, while it enjoys the right to peaceful nuclear programme, it is barred from developing nuclear weapons programme. Under NPT, all its civil nuclear programmes are subject to verification by the IAEA.

Clandestine programme

However, now for over seven years, the IAEA has come to the conclusion that Iran was not transparent about its nuclear programmes. It has also concluded that the country was pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons programme.

In September, the Iranian leadership confirmed the doubts about its weapons programme when it disclosed the existence of a second uranium enrichment plant in Fordo, not far from Tehran.

The Friday resolution was backed by all the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. On previous occasions, Russia and China, which favoured negotiations over punitive actions, had stalled Western efforts to impose stronger economic sanctions against Iran through the Security Council resolutions.

The three countries that opposed the anti-Iran IAEA resolution were Cuba, Venezuela and Malaysia while Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey, South Africa and Brazil abstained from voting.

Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki was in New Delhi to lobby support just before the prime minister’s US visit. Singh was very firm that Iran cannot pursue nuclear power ambitions.

“As far as Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions are concerned, I have stated it unambiguously on several occasions that we do not support the nuclear weapon ambitions of Iran. Iran is a signatory to the NPT.

“As such, it has all the rights that it got with this membership of the NPT, that is use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” the prime minister had said at an interactive session at the Council for Foreign Relations in Washington.

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