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

Last Updated 21 March 2011, 10:43 IST

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 Peoples 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.

"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. 

(Published 21 March 2011, 10:26 IST)

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