US should not decide if Iran is making nukes: India(Roundup)

April 23rd, 2008 - 11:04 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) India said Wednesday that the US had no right to decide unilaterally whether or not Iran was making nuclear weapons. “The US should not take the responsibility on itself to determine whether Iran is making nuclear weapons or not,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said here.

He said such a ruling should be left to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since Iran was a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and will have to abide by the agency’s guidelines.

“Iran will certify to the IAEA whether or not it is making nuclear weapons,” Mukherjee said while addressing journalists during an orientation programme.

The minister’s remarks follow a US statement on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s forthcoming visit to India.

The State Department Tuesday said that the US expected India to raise the nuclear issue with Ahmedinejad and to use its influence to end Iran’s uranium enrichment programme.

India responded that New Delhi and Tehran would be able to conduct their bilateral relations without any prompting from a third country.

But the link between the Iranian president’s brief visit and the Manmohan Singh government’s plans to make a fresh bid to revive the Indo-US nuclear deal became apparent from what Mukherjee said: “We will come back to parliament to tell the members about details of the deal before the Indo-US agreement goes for ratification to the US Congress.”

The remarks left little doubt that the government had not given up on the nuclear deal.

Mukherjee also tried to allay fears about the Hyde Act, making it clear that it was binding on the US, not on India.

He said New Delhi had not yet completed the process of securing an India-specific safeguards agreement with the IAEA and a nod from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) - two requirements before the nuclear deal can be put before the US Congress for its final approval.

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