Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat warned the Government on Tuesday that another vote against Iran would not be tolerated. This comes ahead of the February 2-3 emergency session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) governing board in Vienna.

Addressing an "anti-imperialist day" rally at the Constitution Club lawns, Mr. Karat said the Government must implement a genuinely independent foreign policy as enunciated in the National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP).

The Left parties had agreed to meet on the Iran issue on January 27 and would send a formal letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, setting out their stand. Under American and European pressure, the IAEA board is expected to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council for its nuclear research activities.

The CPI (M) leader made it clear that if the Government continued to support American policy, the Left parties would have to confront it. Mr. Karat also called on the gathering to prepare for massive protests against the scheduled arrival of U.S. President George. W. Bush to India on March 1.

"We have to give him [Mr. Bush] a warm reception. So warm that he feels the heat," Mr. Karat stated. According to him, it was unlikely that Mr. Bush would address a joint session of Parliament, a courtesy that had been extended to his predecessor, Bill Clinton, in 2000.

Pointing out that an independent foreign policy was not just about Iran, but India's national interests, the CPI (M) leader said it was not possible to back Israeli policies and, at the same time, support the cause of the Palestinians, who had been struggling to achieve a separate State. Mr. Karat said it was sad that non-Left political parties were not paying much attention to foreign policy issues.