Press Statement

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
Vote on Iran: Manmohan Singh Government Surrenders to US Pressure

The resolution adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the Iran nuclear issue is unjustifiable and one-sided. It is shameful that India has voted with the United States and the western countries to refer Iran to the UN Security Council unless it complies with the demands made.

The Manmohan Singh government has caved in to US pressure and gone back on its stated stand. Till the eve of the vote in the IAEA, the Indian government had maintained that the Iran issue should be dealt with within the framework of the IAEA and that decisions have to be taken by consensus. India had also recognised the right of Iran to develop its nuclear technology under international safeguards as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

All these positions have now been reversed. Firstly, the board resolution states that “the history of concealment” of nuclear activities and the “resulting absence of confidence that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes have given rise to questions that are within the competence of the Security Council”. This knocks out the stand that the Iranian issue should be discussed within the framework of the IAEA.

Secondly, till the eve of the vote, the government stand was: “India supports the resolution of all issues through discussions and consensus in the IAEA”. The IAEA has customarily taken decisions by consensus. Breaching this, the resolution on Iran was adopted by a vote. Out of 35 countries on the board, 22 voted for the resolution. It is noteworthy that apart from Russia and China, ten other countries belonging to the non-alignment movement such as South Africa, Brazil, Mexico and Sri Lanka have abstained. Even Pakistan which is more beholden to the United States abstained. India has broken ranks with the non-aligned countries which had decided not to support the US stand on Iran. India voting for the resolution along with the US and the EU-3 has violated its own stand that decisions should be taken by consensus in the Board.

Can the Manmohan Singh government justify the demand in the resolution that Iran cannot proceed with enrichment of uranium or the demand to stop the construction of a heavy water research reactor. This goes against India’s declared stand that Iran has the right to nuclear technology under international safeguards as an NPT signatory.

The Manmohan Singh government is circumscribed by the India-US agreement which was signed in July during the Prime Minister’s visit. The CPI(M) had earlier warned that the India-US agreement adopted during the Prime Minister’s visit virtually converts India into an ally of the United States. The government has caved in under the threat from the United States that it has to choose where it stands — with the US or Iran – and the blunt message that the nuclear cooperation agreement will not be ratified by the US Congress if India takes an independent stand.

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly condemns the stand taken by the Indian government in the IAEA. It has caused immense damage to India’s standing in the non-aligned and developing countries. The UPA government should know that such a stance will not be acceptable to the people of India.

In November when the issue of Iran comes up again in the IAEA, India has to take a stand in consonance with an independent foreign policy and national interests. It should not endorse the blackmail by the nuclear haves and should oppose any discriminatory treatment to Iran. The CPI(M) calls for a countrywide campaign to compel the Manmohan Singh government to take such a stand.