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Left parties urge India to abstain if consensus eludes Iran issue at IAEA meeting

New Delhi, Jan 28, IRNA-Left parties today demanded of the government to abstain from voting if a consensus eludes next week's crucial International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting on Iran's disputed nuclear program.

"Our considered opinion continues to be that in consonance with the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government's commitment to the pursuit of an independent foreign policy, if a consensus is lacking on the (nuclear) issue at the IAEA meeting India should abstain," they said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The parties, which provide key outside support to the government, said a "principled Indian position" that calls for talks within the ambit of the IAEA for resolving Iran's nuclear issue will help to avert a spurt in tensions in the region, where millions of Indian nationals live and work.

"A principled Indian position that upholds the need to seek a resolution of the Iran nuclear issue through negotiations within the framework of the IAEA will contribute towards averting an escalation of tensions in an already volatile region," the Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M), Communist Party of India CPI, Forward Bloc and Rashtriya Socialist Party (RSP) said in a letter.

Asserting that a consensus was lacking on the issue, they said there was a "profound disquiet" among members of the international community, especially Russia, China and the Non-Aligned nations, and that the US, instead of supporting efforts to explore various avenues to resolve the matter, was precipitating a United Nations Security council referral.

"The US strategy holds disturbing parallels with the Iraq crisis in the 2002-03 period in so far as a calibrated buildup of confrontation was eventually seized as pretext for making unilateral moves against Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity," the letter said.

They said the Russian-Iranian discussions in Moscow on February 16 ought to proceed without hindrance. Moreover, they said the IAEA director-general's report on cooperation with Iran was still being awaited.

"Apart from these considerations, India cannot but factor its traditionally friendly ties with Iran, which has immense potential of expansion in various mutually beneficial directions, especially in the field of energy cooperation, that will also strengthen regional stability on the whole," it said.

The Left parties yesterday asked the government not to vote in favor of any resolution that proposes referral of Iran's nuclear case to the UN Security Council.

... Payvand News - 1/28/06 ... --

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