US says Iran comments not a big issue

April 24th, 2008 - 11:54 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh
By Arun Kumar
Washington, April 24 (IANS) The US has sought to smoothen India’s ruffled feathers by suggesting that Washington did no finger pointing when it asked New Delhi to use its influence to end Iran’s uranium enrichment programme. And it was not as big an issue as it was made out to be, said Richard Boucher, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia.

Commenting on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s forthcoming visit to India, the US State Department spokesman had only stated US policy by making the suggestion to New Delhi regarding Tehran, Boucher told reporters Wednesday.

“I don’t think it was pointing a finger at India. I don’t think it’s as big an issue as it’s made out to be,” Boucher said, noting that the spokesman had also stated that “it’s up to every country to determine for itself how it’s going to organise its bilateral relations”.

“We talk to India about everything,” Boucher said. “They know our policies… We also know (that) Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has made it clear that they don’t want to see another nuclear weapon state in the region.”

The US statement Tuesday that Washington hoped India would raise the nuclear issue with Ahmedinejad and use its influence to end Iran’s uranium enrichment programme evoked a sharp reaction in New Delhi.

India said it needed no lectures from a third country on how to conduct its bilateral relations.

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