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US envoy says India should vote on Iran nuclear issue according to its assessment

New Delhi, Nov 15, IRNA-Ignoring the recent comments of former external affairs minister Natwar Singh on a possible revision of India's policy on the IAEA vote on the Iran nuclear issue, US Ambassador David C. Mulford today said his country expected India to vote accoding to its assessment of national interest.

We don't regard it as a policy of the government. He made the statement in special circumstances, Mulford said, reacting on Natwar Singh's recent remark that India should revise its policy on the vote on Iran's nuclear issue at the upcoming IAEA meeting on November 24.

At the last IAEA meeting on September 24, India had voted against Iran, arguing that it was aimed at preventing the issue from going to the UN Security Council.

Refusing to speculate on how India would vote at the next meeting, Mulford said New Delhi at the last IAEA meeting had expressed its assessment of its national interest.

At the next vote, "we expect India to assess its national interest and vote accordingly," he said.

The envoy's comments came amid intense pressure from the government's crucial Left allies who want India to vote along with Iran, PTI reported.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday said the issue "can be and should be" resolved by taking a broad-based consensus so as to avoid a vote on it.

Mulford confirmed that "diplomacy" was under way but that the US was not engaged in it. He said the issue would go to the UN Security Council if diplomatic efforts failed.

Safari to hold talks with Indian counterpart on IAEA vote

New Delhi, Nov 15, IRNA-Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mehdi Safari is expected here almost a week ahead of the IAEA meet on the Iran nuclear issue on November 24.

Tehran's attempt to reach out to New Delhi comes as international efforts are being intensified to reach a consensus and avoid a vote.

Safari is scheduled to arrive here on Thursday for a two-day visit during which he will meet top South block officials besides holding talks with his Indian counterpart, Rajiv Sikri, secretary in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

India has been in favor (the PM himself has said as much) of settling the matter within the ambit of the IAEA instead of escalating it by referring Iran's nuclear dossir to the UN Security Council.

The last political contact between the two sides took place last month when former external affairs minister K Natwar Singh met Iranian Vice-President Parviz Davoudi in Moscow. Safari was accompanying Davoudi on that visit, the English daily `Indian Express' reported here today.

The EU-3 (Britain, France and Germany) has been discussing a fresh proposal to defuse the crisis. According to reports, the compromise proposed would allow Iran to convert raw uranium ore into gas but enrichment will have to be undertaken in Russia.

Russian National Security Advisor Igor Ivanov was in Tehran this week to discuss the proposal with the Iranian leadership.

Left's pressure on Iran N-issue not a "threat": Congress

New Delhi, Nov 15, IRNA-Congress sought to downplay the growing pressure from its allies -- the Left and like-minded parties -- to reverse the UPA government's stand on Iran's nuclear program, saying it was not a "threat."

Commenting on the strident criticism by Left parties and the Samajwadi Party at a joint rally in Lucknow of the Manmohan Singh government on its voting with the US and European Union on a resolution on Iran's nuclear program at the IAEA meeting in September, she said, "I don't view it as a threat."

"The UPA coalition is a joint endeavor to keep communal forces at bay and provide socio-economic opportunities to the downtrodden. We have sorted out such things earlier through discussion and see no reason why it can't be done so now," Congress General Secretary Ambika Soni said here.

CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat had threatened to put the government in the dock in the winter session of parliament, which begins on November 23, if the government did not reverse its stand when the Iran nuclear issue again comes up at the next scheduled meeting of the IAEA on November 24.

Karat had said the Indian government must spell out whether it was with the US or the non-aligned world on the Iran issue.

Soni said Congress was "aware of the public perception and traditional friendship with the non-aligned world and was confident that the Manmohan Singh government would keep all this in mind and keep the interests of India above everything else" in deciding its stand on the Iran nuclear issue.

... Payvand News - 11/15/05 ... --

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