Jeremy Browne is in India to promote London Olympics

The United Kingdom has serious concerns about Iran sponsoring terrorism and its nuclear ambitions, visiting U.K. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Jeremy Browne said in Chennai on Tuesday.

While making it clear that he was not in a position to speculate on who the perpetrators behind Monday's bomb attack on an Israeli diplomat in New Delhi were, he said: “Extreme Islamic organisations sponsoring terrorism are a concern, but are not the only concern.”

Mr. Browne was answering queries from reporters after playing hockey with school kids. The event was part of efforts to promote the London Olympics.

On finger being pointed towards Iran in the wake of the Delhi incident, he said: “We have some very serious concerns about the government of Iran, about their sponsorship of terrorist organisations and about their nuclear weapons ambitions.”

Recalling that the British Embassy in Tehran was closed down a few weeks ago because it was invaded by protesters who, according to him, received tacit endorsement of the Iranian authorities, he said: “We want Iran to get on a path in the future which rejects aggression and gives the best opportunities for its people to live peacefully and progress.”

The attack (in Delhi) showed that terrorism and disputes around the world were not limiting themselves geographically and there was a similar attack in the United States recently, he said. “Whether it is the U.N., the G20 or the Commonwealth, there are a lot of organisations where Britain and India could work together closely [to prevent future attacks].”

Dow sponsorship

On the controversy surrounding Dow Chemical being a main sponsor of the London Olympics, Mr. Browne said the Bhopal gas leak of 1984 was indeed a terrible event that caused and continues to cause huge suffering and pain. However, the case had its complications and there were different opinions as the takeover (of Union Carbide by Dow) happened years later.

Understanding that there was a debate in India, Mr. Browne, whose responsibilities include promoting the Olympics, said he did not know the details of the arrangement between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Dow Chemical. “What is quite striking when you hold the Olympics is that the IOC determines lots of arrangements and quite a surprising degree of the organisation and commercial relations are not in the hands of the host country. That was not in China four years ago and won't be in Brazil four years later.” Even the London Olympic Games organising committee functioned generally under the IOC.

“I don't want anyone in India to think that the Olympic Games in London are in anyway disrespectful to the people who had suffered in that chemical release. That's definitely not the case,” Mr. Browne emphasised.

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