Centre to decide stand on Iran vote today

New Delhi, Jan 31 | Updated: Feb 1 2006, 05:30am hrs
At a crucial meeting of the cabinet committee on security (CCS) on Wednesday morning, the Manmohan Singh government will weigh its options on what it should do on referring Iran to the UNSC at the IAEA meeting in Vienna on Thursday.

A hard look on the contentious issue has been necessitated in the wake of developments in London in the last twenty-four hours where Russia and China joined the US and the EU-3 in giving a conditional approval to refer Iran to the UN security council. Of course, the UPA government also has to contend with strong opposition from the Left parties on the domestic front who are against supporting a US sponsored resolution against Iran. The Left leaders are now apprehensive that the new development can influence Indias stand on the issue. Government managers, however, indicated this evening that the CCS meet tomorrow would not foreclose any of the options available notwithstanding the dynamic nature of events. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself indicated as much to Left leaders Sitaram Yechury and D Raja this evening, whom he had called for a discussion to his residence. Mr Singh told the Left leaders that the decision on the Iran nuclear issue was dependent on two thingsthe draft resolution to be placed at the IAEA meeting in Vienna and Indias own national interest considerations.

The Prime minister explained to the leaders of the Left parties that the government of India will take its position in the interest of the country, to serve Indias national interest and its position will depend on the text of the resolution brought to the IAEA, the Prime ministers media adviser Sanjaya Baru told reporters after the hour-long meeting.

Earlier in the day, defence minister Pranab Mukherjee spoke to reporters at the Defexpo here and reiterated that the government was reviewing the situation and would come out with its stand at appropriate time.

Analysts, however, felt that the surprise decision in London has reduced elbow room for New Delhi. The foreign ministers of US, UK, China, France and Russia, met on Monday night and agreed on a compromise formula to haul Iran before the UNSC but not take any action until March, by the time when it expects a formal report on Iran from the IAEA. The foreign ministers had met to coordinate their positions ahead of the two-day emergency meeting of the IAEA. Iran can face severe sanctions should the board refer it to the security council. Dissenting voices from the Left, meanwhile, continued to emanate despite the meeting convened by Prime Minister to allay their concerns.

In Kolkata, CPI general secretary AB Bardhan said India would be succumbing to American pressure and would alienate itself from the developing world, if it voted against Iran.If India votes against iran it would be a clear instance of succumbing to American pressure and it will more and less alienate India from the developing world and bid goodbye to our independent foreign policy and non-alignment, Mr Bardhan told PTI.