Iran has right to develop n-energy, says India

Jerusalem : Amid mounting global pressure to follow the US sanctions against Iran, India Tuesday defended Tehran’s right to develop its civil nuclear energy programme but made it clear that it should be within the parameters set out by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“With reference to Iran, we have taken a very consistent position. We expect every nation to pursue its nuclear energy ambitions to its logical conclusion,” External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said at a joint press conference with Israel’s Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman here.

Asserting that every nation is entitled to develop nuclear energy, Krishna, however, stressed that it should be subject to the parameters set out by IAEA.

Krishna was responding to a question by an Israeli journalist on whether India will implement the US sanctions on Iran.

Responding to the same question, Lieberman said “India is the largest democracy in the world and respects decisions of the international community. We expect that every country will respect the decision after it is cleared by the UN Security Council.”

Krishna Monday began a two-day visit to Israel, the first by an Indian foreign minister to that country in the last 11 years.

India has consistently stood up for Iran’s right to develop civil nuclear energy, but is opposed to its nuclear weapon ambitions.

With the US imposing new sanctions on Tehran, India has maintained that it will abide by the UN sanctions on Iran, but has aired its unease with unilateral sanctions by some countries which affect the market.

Against this backdrop, New Delhi is keeping “all options open” on approaching the US for waivers on ground that India imports around 12 per cent of its oil from Iran and the Iranian oil is crucial for its energy security.

India has kept all options open to access Iranian oil and is trying hard to resolve the issue of payment for Iranian oil. Among other things under discussion is a plan to persuade Tehran to accept payment in Indian rupees.

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