India’s IAEA vote upsets Iran

Iran’s ambassador in New Delhi has met a top Indian foreign affairs official to convey his government’s deep disappointment at India’s decision to vote against Tehran on a UN atomic agency resolution.

Hamid Reza Asefi: Iran is considering reducing trade
Hamid Reza Asefi: Iran is considering reducing trade

The meeting between Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran and Iranian Ambassador Siyavash Zargar Yaghoubi took place on Tuesday, as Iran threatened to review trade deals with countries that voted against it at the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Indian Foreign Ministry said in statement released on
Wednesday that Saran had explained to Yaghoubi the rationale behind India‘s decision at the IAEA vote on Saturday.

In a surprise move, India on Saturday joined the US, Britain, France, Germany and other nations in backing the IAEA resolution calling on the agency to consider reporting Iran to the UN Security Council for not complying with the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

Indian officials insist New Delhi’s vote helped to avert a confrontation between Iran and the international community.

Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said earlier this week that India only sided with the European countries after they agreed to dilute the resolution to delay referring Iran to the UN Security Council.

Regardless, the vote has angered Iran, and Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said on Tuesday that his country was considering reducing its trade with countries that had voted in favour of Saturday’s resolution, particularly India.

Deal in danger

An Indian newspaper, The Hindu, reported on Wednesday that Iran had scrapped a deal to export natural gas to India because of the vote, saying the decision was conveyed to India’s permanent representative at the IAEA by Tehran’s ambassador in Vienna, Austria.

Manmohan Singh’s office denieda gas deal had been cancelled  

Manmohan Singh’s office denied
a gas deal had been cancelled  

But the office of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh denied the report, calling it inaccurate, and the Indian Foreign Ministry said it has received no such indication from Iran, although the ambassadors of India and Iran to Vienna had met.

“We have been given no indication in these interactions of Iran‘s intentions to review its long-standing and extensive cooperation with India which is of benefit to and in the interest of both countries,” the ministry said in a statement.

However, another Indian Foreign Ministry official,
speaking anonymously, said The Hindu’s report was “not entirely

inaccurate”. But he refused to elaborate.

At stake for India is a deal signed in June under which
India planned to import five million tonnes of liquefied natural gas annually for 25 years with deliveries from Iran starting in 2009. India also plans to import gas through a pipeline from Iran via Pakistan.

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