Port of Spain, Nov.27 (ANI): Explaining its position on why it supported the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution to prevent Iran from developing a uranium-enrichment facility in secrecy, official sources in the Indian delegation accompanying Prime MinisterManmohan Singh at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)here, said Friday that it did not mean that New Delhi approves, or thinks that a renewed punitive approach or imposing sanctions is theway to go forward on the issue.
Essentially describing the decision as "Background", the official sources said the Indian delegation "has taken careful note of the report of the Director General of the IAEA, Mohammad El-Baradei, on the implementation of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) safeguards agreement and the relevant provision of the (UN) SecurityCouncil resolution viz-a-viz s the Islamic republic of Iran."
The official sources further said that the coming weeks should be used by all concerned to expand the diplomatic space to satisfactorily address all the outstanding issues. They said that India firmly supports keeping the door open for dialogue and avoidance of confrontation.
"In recent months, we were encouraged by the new pathways of engagement that had opened up with Iran, including the recent meetings in Geneva and Vienna, which gave rise to hopes of constructive and productive results," the sources added.
Earlier this week, while interacting with the president of the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR), Richard Haas, during a question and answer session that followed a speech to the august gathering in Washington, Prime Minister Singh had said: "As far as Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions are concerned, I have unambiguously said that I don't support it. Iran is a signatory to the NPT (Nuclear Proliferation Treaty), and has a right to peaceful use of nuclear energy."
However, be this as it may, Tehran also needed to understand that it has to meet its obligations under the same treaty, IAEA and UNSC guidelines on nuclear use, he added.
"If the UNSC (United Nations Security Council) passes a resolution, India has abided with it. Our hope is that whatever steps the United States and other countries take vis-'-vis Iran, it will yield results," Dr. Singh told Haas during the interaction.
He also recalled meeting with an Iranian academic who had once been a student of his, and he had told him (Dr. Singh) that Iran is encouraged by the messages coming out of the Obama administration.
In his report, the IAEA Director-General has noted that while the agency has continued to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, there has been no movement on the remaining issues of concern that need to be clarified for the agency to verify the "exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme."
El-Baradei concluded in his report that Iran's failure to notify the agency of the existence of this facility until September 2009, rather than as soon as the decision to construct it or to authorize construction was taken, was inconsistent with that country's obligations under the Subsidiary Arrangements to its Safeguards Agreement.
He also said that Iran's late declaration of the new facility reduces confidence in the absence of the other nuclear facilities under construction in Iran which have not been declared to the agency.
The official sources said that India has consistently supported the right of all states to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy consistent with the respective obligations that they have undertaken.
In Iran's case, which is a signatory to the NPT, it has all the rights and obligations that go with its membership of the NPT pertaining to the use for unclear energy for peaceful purposes.
We also underline the importance of full and effective implementation of all safeguards obligations undertaken by member states of hte IAEA.
Iran's failure to notify the agency of the new facility is not consistent with its commitments to the agency and is not helping in confidence building, official sources here said.
The IAEA resolution to prevent Iran from developing a uranium-enrichment facility in secret was unanimously passed by a 25-3 vote with six abstentions.
The resolution urges Iran to halt construction of the Fordow uranium-enrichment plant, located in a mountain bunker near the city of Qom immediately.
IAEA has also demanded that Tehran should immediately freeze the uranium-enrichment project.
Besides, the resolution asks Tehran to clarify the original purpose of the Fordow facility and to confirm that Iran does not have any more hidden atomic facilities or clandestine plants for any purpose.
Significantly, the latest IAEA resolution has also been supported by Russia and China, which have shied away from censuring Iran in the past.
The Russian and Chinese support to the IAEA resolution sends out a clear message to Tehran of the international disappointment about the secrecy and defiance surrounding its controversial nuclear program.
Russia and China both hold the power to veto possible international sanctions as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
The West is concerned that Iran is secretly trying to build nuclear weapons in violation of its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Meanwhile, the six countries that abstained from today' vote were Afghanistan, Brazil, Egypt, Pakistan, South Africa, and Turkey.
Azerbaijan was the only country on the IAEA board whose representative was absent when today's vote was taken.
Those who voted against the censure measure -- Venezuela, Malaysia, and Cuba -- are all developing countries in a bloc with Iran. They called the resolution provocative and counterproductive.
Iranian officials say the IAEA resolution will undermine its relations with the UN nuclear watchdog.
IAEA Director-General Mohammad el-Baradei said in Vienna before the vote that Iran has continued to make counter-offers rather than accepting the compromise deal. By Smita Prakash (ANI)