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Security, peace weigh with India in Iran nuclear issue: PM

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 6: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said that in dealing with the Iran nuclear issue, India would keep in mind its own security, peace and stability in the Gulf region while pursuing a resolution to the imbroglio through dialogue and discussion.

Replying to the debate on the issue in the Lok Sabha, Dr Manmohan Singh said it was yet not clear what position Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would take during its meeting today on Iran's nuclear programme.

But discussions are taking place in Vienna on the resolution adopted by the IAEA last month, he said, adding talks had been held between Iran and Russia in an attempt by the international community to a explore a peaceful solution to the issue.

''India has consistently stated that all sides must work to find mutually acceptable compromise solutions, and that confrontations should be avoided at all costs...time must be given for diplomacy to work,'' the Prime Minister said.

''There is consensus in Parliament and in our country that confrontation is not in the interests of India or of our region....

Whenever the matter is taken up, we will work with all like-minded countries, including those from the NAM, for a mutually acceptable resolution to the issue.'' For that purpose, Dr Singh said, ''the government will continue to monitor the situation closely, and will deal with the Iran issue with seriousness that it merits''.

He said his government was committed to widening, deepening and expanding India's ties with Iran for diverse and mutually beneficial relations and Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed had recently visited Iran and held discussions with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and several other leaders of his government there.

Earlier during the debate on issue, Left members, including Mr Gurudas Dasgupta, Mr Rupchand Pal and Mr Subroto Bose, asked the government to ensure that the country's foreign policy was guided by national interests and not positioned to suit other countries' interests.

BJP leaders, including Kharbela Swain, also expressed similar sentiments saying that India should not take any pre-determined position.

They underlined the fact that Iran had a legal right to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy with certain obligations and responsibilities and that it had already agreed to assist IAEA investigations in the past and had suspended all nuclear fuel enrichment and processing activities in November 2004.

However, the members noted that the issue now revolved around Iran's renewed production of uranium enrichment and centrifuge imports and designs for this purpose.

Responding to their observations, the Prime Minister said the government had taken a dispassionate view of all these developments, was examining the facts and ''exercised our independent judgement, based on facts before taking a position''.


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