This refers to the editorial "Reject the American fatwa" (Jan. 27). U.S. Ambassador David Mulford's statement that there would be a devastating effect on the India-U.S. civilian nuclear deal if India did not vote against Iran at the IAEA is more like a threat than a request. The UPA Government is clearly in a fix, with one of its allies strongly recommending that it should not vote against Iran.

B. Madhava Murthy,

Because of faulty foreign policy and lack of forethought, the Government is now sandwiched between the U.S. and the Left parties at home. The only way it can overcome the crisis with least damage is to maintain its position that the Iran issue must be resolved within the confines of the IAEA and vote accordingly on the resolution on February 2.

M.A. Hakeem,

Either Mr. Mulford is thinking loudly, or the U.S. Congress imagines it can play a key role in India's foreign policy. I hope India will stick to its guns and not succumb to pressure. Maybe not voting at all is the best way.

Sachit Butail,
New York

This is the time for India to stand firm. Bolivians, Venezuelans, Palestinians are all people who have rejected the flawed U.S. policies. If we go along with the U.S. on this, we will set a bad precedent.

Punyam Satyanarayana,
Perryville, Maryland

The U.S. envoy's statement is well within the context. He has predicted the inevitable - that the deal will die in due course. It is well known that America takes painstaking interest in only those matters that enhance the business of its major corporations. The Mulford episode reminds me of the saying, "If you give a mouse a cookie he's gonna want a glass of milk."

Sriram Varadharajan,
Pasadena, California

Mr. Mulford's warning has again revealed the unilateral tendency of the U.S. India should not be cowed down by such unholy threats. The Government should vote with Iran and prove that it has an independent foreign policy. We may lose materially but we will gain morally by adhering to the ideals of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Ake Ravi Krishna,

The External Affairs Ministry cannot afford to take a decision that supports U.S. interests on Iran as the common man back home will see it as sabotage of our foreign policy. The Prime Minister has some tightrope walking to do.

Anish Sebastian,
Muvattupuzha, Kerala

Obviously, the fatwa has the blessing of the State Department. The U.S. breaching diplomatic niceties is nothing new though. India should deal with the U.S. on equal terms. By voting against Iran once, it has already created a dent in India-Iran relations. The UPA Government, which depends on the Left for its survival, should also respect its views on important issues.

S. Ramesan,

Mr. Mulford's comments indicate that allying with the U.S. is fraught with risks. A better alternative, though achievable only in the longer term, is to start exercising our minds on how better to meet our energy needs, and how varied and broad-based the sources can be.

Devraj Sambasivan,
Alappuzha, Kerala

Thanks to the statement, the Government can take a more determined stand to support Iran.

R. Ponnarassi,
Vellore, T.N.

The country should not be carried away by emotions. Voting should be based on cool consideration of the national interest. An atomic bomb in the hands of religious extremists is a danger India should guard against. Dealing with the U.S. fatwa is, of course, an entirely different issue.

G. Gopalaswamy,