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No comparison between India and Iran: US

Written by: Staff

Washington, Mar 30 (UNI) The United States has strongly defended the civilian nuclear deal with India, saying it materialised only after New Delhi's commitment to meet non-proliferation goals.

As Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran was holding crucial talks with lawmakers and officials, State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack countered the remarks made by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier earlier in the day, that the deal came at a wrong time when international efforts were for curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions.

''Our view, in sum, is that at the end of the day, India has been a responsible member of the international community when it comes to issues of non-proliferation,'' Mr McCormack said.

Iran, on the other hand, he said ''has abrogated its treaty obligations not to seek to develop a nuclear weapon, continually lied to the international community about that, continually deceived the international community about that. And certainly we do have concerns about Iran's involvement in proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.'' He also mentioned how the Iranian regime had contacts with the network of disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist A Q Khan, which was in business to help parties develop nuclear weapons. ''So the track record of Iran with regard to non-proliferation behaviour, stands in stark contrast to India.'' Condemning the parallels drawn by critics on India and Iran, Mr McCormack emphasised that ''it is on merits of behaviour by the Indian Government that we have concluded the agreement between the United States and India and are now working with the Congress to seek some changes in US law that would allow that agreement to be fully implemented.'' The State Department spokesman said President George W Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ''as well as other members of this administration have talked about the importance of this agreement between the United States and India. And certainly we have talked about it in the past, how we would differ with anybody who tries to make any comparisons between the behaviour of Iran and the behaviour of India.'' Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in an interview with German daily Handelsblatt that a civil nuclear energy deal struck between the United States and India earlier this month was not helpful given that it came in the midst of talks on curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions.

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