Valerie Lincy of The Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control told Aljazeera.net on Saturday that the timing of the pact sent a wrong message to Iran and the world.

 

"The timing just makes it worse - we are pressing Iran to let go of its nuclear activities and give up its attempts to acquire nuclear technologies and at the same time we are providing the same technology to India" she said.

 

"It is time we need to show our seriousness. By signing such a pact with India we are just telling people we are being selective."

 

Iranian resident representative to the IAEA declined to comment on the US-Indian pact; however he denounced US' double standards regarding Israel.

 

"Israel's violations is known for everybody, yet nothing is mentioned or even discussed," Ali Asghar Soltanieh told Aljazeera.net.

 

The nuclear pact sealed between the US and India on Thursday has raised questions on its timing as the international community is at odds with Iran's nuclear issue.

 

Exchange of interests

Under the deal signed by US President George Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Washington has offered New Delhi nuclear fuel and technology provided it separates its civil and military nuclear facilities and places the former under international inspections.

 

The director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) welcomed the agreement between India and the United States, saying it would boost non-proliferation efforts.

ElBaradei hailed the US-India deal 

"This agreement is an important step towards satisfying India's growing need for energy, including nuclear technology and fuel, as an engine for development," IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said in a statement.

"It would also be a step forward towards universalisation of the international safeguards regime," he said, adding it would make India "an important partner in the non-proliferation regime."

 

Critics

Critics say the deal undermines non-proliferation goals but ElBaradei called it a milestone and timely agreement "to consolidate the non-proliferation regime, combat nuclear terrorism and strengthen nuclear safety."

 

"This agreement would serve the interests of both India and the international community," he said.

 

Some US lawmakers and nuclear experts have criticised the pact, saying it weakens international safeguards, especially the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which India has refused to sign calling it discriminatory.

 

The news was received with heavy criticism and was labelled as a "typical double standards practice".

 

"Iran's right in owning nuclear technology for civil purposes is totally denied by the US and its allies, yet, the US signs a deal with another country granting it everything it banned Iran from!" Muhamad Sadiq al-Husseini, political analyst in Iran told Aljazeera.net.

 

"It is typical double standards… Is that just because Iran is not in ideological agreement with them? However, Colin Powell had said it that Iran is not Brazil or South Africa to be granted nuclear technology, he said it bluntly that they do not trust Iran."

 

NPT members

Soltanieh
and Lincy agreed that countries which have not signed the NPT should not get hold of nuclear technology.

 

"Israel is not an NPT member and it should not acquire nuclear technology, but there is a clear tolerance in that regard from the US," Soltanieh said.

 

"It is time we need to show our seriousness, and by signing such a pact with India we just telling people we are being selective."


Valerie Lincy,
Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control

Mounzer Sleiman, a senior military strategic analyst said the deal is the fruit of a strategic alliance agreed last year.

 

"The focus on cooperation and improved relations between US and India took a qualitative mode almost two years ago when both sides developed what was called NSSP, The Next Step in Strategic Partnership, which was a document that laid the ground for a way forward," he told Aljazeera.net. 

 

The recent deal includes an important component to address India's need to increase its energy resources via civil nuclear technology. 

 

Sleiman also believes the Bush administration is looking to benefit from the latest trip to India, offering the US President a much-needed distraction from the "never ending" crisis at home and in Iraq.

 

"The worsening situation in Iraq had forced President Bush last Saturday to call seven Iraqi faction leaders - an unprecedented act," he said.

The pact also aims to steer India away from cooperation with Iran on a natural gas pipeline by providing nuclear energy alternatives, Sleiman said.