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India snubs US, hails Iran’s N-plan
NEW DELHI, May 21 (Agencies):
Published on 21 May. 2010 11:04 PM IST
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The growing policy rift between India and the US on how to deal with Iran’s nuclear enrichment plans has come out in the open with foreign minister S M Krishna disagreeing with the American position to welcome Tehran’s decision to send its low enriched uranium stock to Turkey.
“That Iran has agreed to send enriched uranium to Turkey, is, I think, a constructive move,” the foreign minister told TOI.
Krishna was replying to a question on US’s plans to rope in other members of the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran despite the swap deal under which Iran will send 2,640 pounds of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey within one month and, in turn, receive fuel rods for a medical research reactor. US along with several European nations have taken a dim view of the swap deal facilitated by Brazil and Turkey, suspecting that it was just a manoeuvre to derail the push for Security Council sanctions against Iran.
The swap deal is similar to the offer US and other countries had put on the table in October.
US and others say that that the original swap deal, that Iran accepted only to reject it later, required Tehran to send out 2,640 pounds -- 80% of its stock -- of enriched uranium, and start serious negotiations which could have delayed its pursuit of a nuclear weapon. Now, 2,640 pounds amount to just about half of Iran’s stock.
That the fresh swap deal puts no curbs on Iran’s plan to accelerate enrichment, and leaves it free to take back the fuel stored in Turkey when it wants, are other reasons why US continues to work for UNSC sanctions against Tehran.
Krishna who was in Tehran when Iran agreed to uranimum swap with Turkey did not agree that sanctions had become inevitable. He said, “Efforts should be made to encourage Iran to deal directly with the IAEA so that it could come to the mainstream. That would be a desirable objective. But I don’t know what will happen in future.”
His remarks tied in with the perception that India, annoyed Iran by voting in the IAEA against Iran, was busy trying to mend fences. “Civility is certainly no weakness. If I have tried to put our bilateral relationship on a cordial pedestal, it is because of our deep desire to have a friendly relationship with Iran with which we have civilisational and other links.”
Asked about the perception of there being a disconnect between US and India over Iran and Afghanistan, the foreign minister said, “US has its own foreign policy and India has its own and if the two were to converge at some point, that doesn’t mean to say that we are camp followers of one or the other country. It so happens that both of us take the same view of the relationship.”
India’s efforts to repair ties with Iran have been encouraged by their shared fears over Pakistan’s moves to capitalise on US’s anxiety to pull out of Afghanistan to install a proxy regime.

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