India in quandary over US-Iran conflict

By Vilani Peiris and Keith Jones
30 November 2005

India’s United Progressive Alliance government made it known early last week that, when the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) met in Vienna November 24, it would oppose referring charges that Iran has failed to fulfill its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations to the United Nations Security Council.

The Stalinist-led Left Front was quick to hail the government decision, which contradicted press reports, including in the well-connected Times of India, that the UPA government had decided that if the issue were to come to a vote India would cast its lot with the US and EU-3 (Britain, Germany and France) and against Iran as it had done at the September 24 IAEA meeting.

“The government briefed us about the diplomatic efforts to avoid sending the Iran nuclear issue to the UN,” Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury told reporters November 21 at the conclusion of a meeting of the UPA-Left Front coordination committee. “We are satisfied with the manner in which the government is trying to avoid such a situation.”

However, it soon emerged that the US and EU powers had already decided that they were not going to push for immediate referral of Iran’s alleged breaches of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to the UN Security Council.