India has justified its vote against Iran at Friday’s meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the suspicion of the country having reported late the building of a secret nuclear enrichment near the holy city of Qom. At the same time, India said its action, resulting from the IAEA report, should not detract from the need for dialogue on the whole issue.

In an unusually elucidatory statement that comes weeks after high-level talks between Iran and India after a long time, the Foreign Office here explained that in recent months, New Delhi was encouraged by the “new pathways of engagement” that opened up with Tehran including the recent meetings in Geneva and Vienna which gave rise to hopes of constructive and productive results.

Therefore, India did not think its vote, along with that of China and Russia, would divert the parties away from dialogue.

“This resolution cannot be the basis of a renewed punitive approach or new sanctions. In fact, the coming weeks should be used by all concerned to expand the diplomatic space to satisfactorily address all outstanding issues. India firmly supports keeping the door open for dialogue and avoidance of confrontation,” the Foreign Office said.

“The Indian delegation had taken careful note of the report of the DG [IAEA Director-General ElBaradei] on the Implementation of the NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of Security Council Resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In his report, the DG has noted that while the Agency has continued to verify non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, there has, however, been no movement on remaining issues of concern which need to be clarified for the Agency to verify the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme,” the statement added.

‘Inconsistent’

“The DG concluded that Iran’s failure to notify the Agency of the existence of this facility until September 2009, rather than as soon as the decision to construct it or to authorise construction was taken, was inconsistent with its obligations under the Subsidiary Arrangements to its Safeguards Agreement, and that Iran’s late declaration of the new facility reduces confidence in the absence of other nuclear facilities under construction in Iran which have not been declared to the Agency,” the Foreign Office said.

It maintained India’s consistent support for the right of all states to peaceful uses of nuclear energy along with their committed obligations. But in Iran’s case - which is a signatory to the NPT - it has all the rights and obligations, but it must undertake the full and effective implementation of all safeguards obligations under taken by IAEA member-states.

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