US Congressional Report Rakes Up Iran-India Ties

A0090568.jpgTEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- A new US Congressional Research Service (CRS) report has suggested that India’s long relationship with Iran and its support for Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) positions are obstacles to India’s taking a hard line on Iran. Yet the Bush administration has asserted that US-India nuclear cooperation would bring India into the “non-proliferation mainstream,” says the report released ahead of next week’s session of the outgoing lame-duck Congress that’s due to take up the enabling legislation on the India-US nuclear deal in its final form.

The US Senate and the House of Representatives have both overwhelmingly approved two different versions of the enabling bills. The foreign relations panels of the two chambers are expected to meet in a conference to draw up a common bill for final approval by Congress.

The Bush administration has made the India deal as one of its top legislative priorities for the lame-duck session and said that it would try to have New Delhi’s concerns as also those of the Congress addressed at the conference. Iran is one such point.

As State department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters on Monday it would encourage Congress not to make such changes to the legislation that would materially affect the administration ability to implement the agreement.

CRS, which provides background material to Congress on issues before it, says during the Congressional hearings on the India deal, members had questioned whether India’s cooperation with Iran might affect Washington’s efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear technology.

Like most other states, India’s views of Iran differ significantly from US views, it said.

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