Monday, November 29, 1999

Don`t let sanctions hinder Iran ties, CPI-M

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New Delhi, June 18 (IANS) The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has accused the government of backing out of the Iran gas pipeline under US pressure and urged New Delhi to continue economic and energy ties with Tehran despite the latest UN sanctions.'India had gone on record that it does not think sanctions are the way to tackle (Iran's nuclear) problem. But India had fallen in line with the US whenever Iran was targeted in the IAEA,' said an editorial in the CPI-M's mouthpiece People's Democracy.'The US keeps patting India on the back for this stance,' it said.The party accused the ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of succumbing to alleged US pressure over its ties with Iran.'As a result of US pressure, India backed out of finalising the Iran gas pipeline project,' the journal said.'Even now the UPA government should realise that India's true interest lies in strengthening relations with Iran and extending our economic and trade ties especially in the energy sector.'India should find ways to pursue this course without the sanctions becoming a hindrance,' the CPI-M said.Attacking the US for its role in the latest UN sanctions against Tehran, the CPI-M said Washington reneged on its support for a fuel swap deal with Tehran, brokered by Turkey and Brazil, in order to penalise Tehran.'The US succeeded in getting the four other permanent members to back the resolution. By this step, the US and the Western powers have signalled that rather than engaging with Iran on the nuclear issue, confrontation will be their path,' said the editorial.India has voted three times in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors to hold Iran accountable for its failure to meet international obligations over its suspect nuclear programme.New Delhi has, however, supported Iran's right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy and stressed the need for dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the Iranian nuclear impasse.

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