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Briefing by MEA Official Spokesperson on Draft Resolution on Iran in IAEA

New Delhi
September 24, 2005

Reasons for India's support:

It will be recalled that Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had emphasized two major preoccupations on the part of India. Firstly, we were not for the Iran nuclear issue being referred to the UN Security Council. Our preference was to deal with the issue within the IAEA itself. The EU-3 agreed to take our concern on board. The resolution has kept consideration of the issue within the purview of the IAEA itself.

Secondly, we were keen that sufficient time should be given to the parties concerned to continue to engage in intensive consultations so that an outcome satisfactory to both Iran and the international community as a whole, could be evolved. The draft resolution has conceded that by deferring any decision till a further consideration of the matter at the next Board meeting in November 2005. We have thus gained time for further consultations.

We would have preferred to have a consensus resolution since the previous resolutions on the Iran nuclear issue had been adopted by consensus. However, the EU-3 draft enjoyed the support of a significant majority of delegations in the IAEA Board and was arrived after extensive consultations between them.

It should also be borne in mind that India has all along been supportive of the EU- 3 initiative to negotiate a fair and reasonable understanding with Iran on this issue. Our support to the resolution should also be seen against this background. We have been in close touch with the EU-3, and External Affairs Minister has himself been meeting with and talking to his French, German and British counter parts regularly in the past couple of weeks, to try and encourage a consensus approach. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had discussed the matter with President Chirac in Paris and the two leaders had agreed that all diplomatic avenues needed to be explored to deal with the issue and a confrontation should be avoided. Our vote for the EU-3 resolution is consistent with our stated position.

On India's solidarity with NAM and developing countries:

India has been working with all the different groups within the IAEA to encourage a consensus. We have held intensive consultations, both in Vienna and in New York, to safeguard the legitimate interest of Iran even while responding to proliferation concerns. India's strong opposition to taking the issue to the Security Council was helpful to Iran. The acknowledgment of the need to allow sufficient time for further negotiations is also in Iran's interest. In fact, this was a demand put forward by Iran in several interactions with its representatives. Therefore, there is no question of India having ranged itself on one side or the other on the contrary, India has played a helpful and supportive role in safeguarding Iran's right to peaceful use of nuclear energy necessary for its economic development, but consistent with global non-proliferation norms.

It should also be noted that several non-aligned and developing countries, apart from India, have also voted in favour of the resolution.

Linkage to US/ Indo US nuclear deal:

Nothing could be further from the truth. India takes decisions on issue based on its own independent assessment and in consonance with the country's national interests. The Indo-US nuclear cooperation agreement stands on its own, based as it is on a Mutual recognition of Indian energy requirements, its global impact and on an our acknowledgement of India impeccable record on non-proliferation. The resolution we have voted for is a EU-3 initiative and our decision is the culmination of very intensive and high level consultations with the German, French and the British. Their objectives and ours are similar and there has been a willingness on their part to take on board our major concerns.

Impact on energy cooperation with Iran

We see no reason why there should be any apprehension in this regard. India has played a constructive role in the IAEA and helped safeguard Iran's legitimate interests. We intend to continue to work together with Iran as well as the EU-3 to facilitate a satisfactory outcome in the ensuing weeks. India's principled stand that the issues raised should remain within the purview of the IAEA and that we should give ourselves time for further consultations, has been appreciated by Iran and supported by several delegations in the Board of Governors. At the same time, we have urged Iran to demonstrate some flexibility so that its friends can help in evolving a satisfactory outcome within the IAEA itself.

Reference to Article XII C and to Article III B of the IAEA Statutes, which holds out a threat of referral to the Security Council

In our Explanation of Vote, we have clearly expressed our opposition to Iran being declared as non-compliant with its safeguards agreements. Nor do we agree that the current situation could constitute a threat to international peace and security. Nevertheless, the resolution does not refer the matter to the Security Council and has agreed that outstanding issues be dealt with under the aegis of the IAEA itself. This is in line with our position and therefore, we have extended our support to it.