|U.S. seeks India’s help over Iran nuclear issue||
TEHRAN – The U.S. wants India to persuade Iran to return to the negotiating table on its nuclear program, the first time it has openly asked New Delhi to intercede with Tehran, the Economic Times reported.
Speaking to the Times of India (TOI) ahead of his meetings with Indian National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai in the U.S.-India strategic security dialogue in New Delhi, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said, “We feel a great sense of urgency, an urgency widely shared in the international community. There is a great deal at stake here, given Iran’s failure thus far to comply with its international obligations — the danger of increased tension, nuclear arms race in a region that already has more than its share of instability and which plays a very important role in the health of the global economy.”
He said that the U.S. hopes India would convey this message to the Iranian leadership.
Burns claimed that the tough sanctions on Tehran were necessary to bring Iran back to talks, insisting that diplomacy remained the U.S. preferred option.
He added, “The U.S. and India share an important strategic goal and that is to ensure that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon and does not create those risks. We believe it’s absolutely essential that Iran meet its international obligations and engage seriously in the diplomatic process of the 5+1 mechanism.”
The latest round of high-level talks between Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) was held in Moscow on June 18 and 19.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his conversation with the Iranian Supreme Leader on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement summit held in Tehran in late August, had officially said that India expected Iran to comply with its nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations.
Burns also stated, “We will work with our international partners to step up economic pressure, political isolation, not as an end in itself but as a means to ensure Iran engages seriously and meets its international obligations… The sooner Iran engages seriously better for all of us.”
The main bone of contention between Tehran and the West is Iran’s uranium enrichment program.
Iran says all its nuclear activities are totally peaceful, and, as an IAEA member and a signatory to the NPT, it has the legal right to produce nuclear fuel for its research reactors and nuclear power plants.
The six major powers have demanded that Iran halt 20 percent enrichment, shut down the Fordo uranium enrichment facility, and ship all of its stocks of 20 percent enriched uranium out of the country.
Iran’s main demand is that its right to uranium enrichment, as enumerated in the NPT, be recognized.
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