Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Israeli link to Indo-Iran N talks - The Times of India

Israeli link to Indo-Iran N talks - The Times of India: "Israeli link to Indo-Iran N talks


NEW DELHI: Although India has assiduously avoided mention of Iran's nuclear ambitions, the two-day talks between national security adviser JN Dixit and Iran's top nuclear negotiator and Hassan Rouhani in Iran was not without nuclear content.

Rouhani tried to reassure India "on its efforts on peaceful uses of nuclear energy". Dixit's visit to Iran is interesting as it comes on the eve of Mr Rouhani's meeting with an EU team in Vienna to find a way out of Iran's present nuclear dilemma, and perhaps avoid UN sanctions.

Iran's leadership has declared that Iran was determined to press ahead with its atomic plans and would not give up its right to enrich uranium, but without pursuing nuclear weapons.

It's not something that the rest of the world believes and Iran is presently facing UN sanctions for its nuclear programme. India is uniquely placed because while it is on the right side of the nuclear debate, it is also one of the few countries to enjoy excellent relations with Iran.

The India-Iran relationship has attracted significant attention, particularly from the US. This has been heightened as India presses for more sensitive technology from the US. It is in this context that the US' recent penalties on two Indian scientists for "collaboration" with Iran has assumed interesting proportions.

India has been furious with the sanctions, particularly since one of the scientists did not even visit Iran. Analysts here tend to look at the move through the prism of deteriorating US-Iran relations and categorize it as a not-so-subtle message to India about its ties with Iran.

Although India has been remarkably nonchalant in its views about Iran's nuclear programme, it is only recently that the full import of its implications have dawned on Indian policymakers.
The fact that Iran is at daggers drawn with Saudi Arabia and Israel makes Iran's present nuclear stance that much more dangerous. Observers believe that Iran crossing the nuclear threshold will be followed by Saudi Arabia.

Besides, Israel could just as well do an Osirak and "take out" Iran's nuclear capability, a reality that Iran must have contended with.

It is probably this reality that the German foreign minister Joschka Fischer referred to when he urged Iran "to fulfill its commitments and to avoid miscalculation that will lead us into a very serious situation".

Iran's problems are compounded by the fact that the US believes it is aiding the Al Qaeda leader Al Zarqawi, currently the US' biggest bugbear.

The United States on Monday warned Iran against providing any type of support to Al-Qaeda-linked foreign militant Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi and his Tawhid wal Jihad group, saying it would be a "very, very serious matter."

"We have generally been very concerned about some of the reports of Iranian activity in Iraq," spokesman Richard Boucher said.

The forthcoming US elections too hold out no hope for Iran, because both the presidential hopefuls have been voluble about coming down strongly on Iran.

John Kerry has even accused Bush of going soft on Iran. Dixit, according to an MEA statement, met the Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, Ali Akbar Rafsanjani and foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi."


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