Source: Campaign Iran
Letters were sent today to the Permanent Representative of India at the United Nations and to the Indian High Commissioner in London, asking them to confirm or deny fresh claims that India was coerced by the US to vote against Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The letters comes in the wake of revelations by a former ranking official of the Bush administration that India's votes at the IAEA in 2005 and 2006 had been "coerced."
The letters, drafted by Campaign Iran, were addressed to Ambassador Sen in New York and Mr Kamlesh Sharma in London and demanded that India break her silence on this crucial matter. The controversy erupted over a week ago when, in a talk at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, Stephen G. Rademaker - who left his job as Assistant Secretary for Non-proliferation and International Security at the U.S. State Department last December - said, referring to India's changing attitude towards non-proliferation, "[t]he best illustration of this is the two votes India cast against Iran at the IAEA. I am the first person to admit that the votes were coerced."
The government of India has so far remained silent on this crucial allegation. The US Ambassador to India, David Mulford, issued a statement, reported in the Times of India, that the statements attributed to Mr Rademaker were inaccurate. However, the Hindu newspaper which first reported the story on Friday 16th February pointed out that Mr. Rademaker spoke before an audience of 20 people and that the Hindu's Associate Editor, Siddharth Varadarajan, had taken detailed notes. Ambassador David Mulford had himself caused controversy on this issue when he warned in January 2006 that a deal giving India US nuclear technology could collapse if India did not back the UN motion against Iran.
The growing storm adds strength to those who have argued against the legitimacy of Iran's referral to the UN Security Council and the subsequent passing of Resolution 1737. In 2005, the US and the UK concentrated their efforts in the Governors' Board of the IAEA to first condemn Iran for not meeting its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and then to refer Iran to the UN Security Council, when Iran's enrichment programme had not in fact, breached any article of the NPT.
Professor Abbas Edalat of Campaign Iran said today;
"We need the Indian government to be transparent about this matter of global significance. If the US coerced India into voting against Iran, it brings into question the entire legitimacy of the decision by the Governors' Board of the IAEA to refer Iran to the Security Council and the consequent passing of Resolutions 1696 and 1737 and any future resolutions against Iran the UN might pass. It also raises the question, "how many other members of he Governors' Board of the IAEA were coerced by the US to politicise Iran's nuclear file, refer it to the UN Security Council and bring about first resolution 1696 and then resolution 1737?". As in the run-up top the invasion of Iraq, UN resolutions are being used to give a veneer of legitimacy and provide a pretext for an illegal US pre-emptive strike against Iran. In Iraq, the invasion was ordered "in support of UN authority". The same justification is likely to be used by the Bush administration for strikes on Iran. We are demanding an immediate high level investigation to the use of coercion by the US and its allies within the IAEA."
Mr Rademaker was appointed acting assistant secretary for disarmament in the State Department. He quit the State Department earlier this year and is now a paid lobbyist of the Indian government in Washington.
The story has been reported extensively in the Hindu and the Times of India http://www.hindu.com/2007/02/16/stories/2007021605671200.htm
Ambassador Mulfords statements of January 2006 are reported by the BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4649742.stm
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