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India should use its influence to convince Iran: US

November 27, 2009 13:50 IST
As the stand-off between Iran and the West continues over its nuclear programme, the United States has said India should use its 'influence' to convince the Iranian leadership to accept the 'one of the most reasonable' and 'perfectly plausible' proposal of low enrichment uranium.

In an interview to PTI, US National Security Adviser James Jones said his country would appreciate anything that could make forward movement on the issue.

The statement assumes significance as outgoing International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohammed Al Baradei has said the talks with Iran have reached the 'dead end.'

"Of course," Jones said when asked whether the US wanted India to play a role in ending the deadlock over Iran's nuclear programme considering that it enjoys good relations with Tehran.

Asked as to what kind of role India was expected to play, he said, "Very constructive role. To begin with, if India could be helpful in persuading Iran to accept the offer on the table for low enrichment uranium that is currently being negotiated with the IAEA."

The US has been recently pushing for a compromise that would require Iran to ship much of its uranium stockpile out of the country. The uranium would be processed into fuel that could be used for peaceful purposes. The proposal is acceptable to five other countries of the P-5+1 nations -- US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany.

Iran initially indicated that it would accept the deal, brokered by ElBaradei, but has not stated anything clearly. Jones said he was not sure whether Iran responded or not to the proposal but 'they certainly have not been clear about it' and that 'longer they wait, the more people will tend to draw, make conclusions as to what their intentions are.'

Describing the proposal as 'one of the most reasonable,' he said it was actually Iran's idea to do this. "We put together a perfectly plausible, internationally agreeable option," the NSA said, observing that if any time Russia, China, US, Germany, France, UK agree on any one thing, 'that is pretty remarkable time.'

He said India could be 'helpful in convincing the Iranian authorities that it is as good as it gets, and that at some point, if they don't take what is obviously a great answer to what they raised, then people will start drawing their own conclusions and then it won't be good for Iran.'

Jones said it would be 'very helpful to influence the Iranian leadership.' Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama discussed the Iran nuclear issue during their meeting on Tuesday, he said.

Jones said President Obama has instructed the officials to be 'patient' and 'give it time.'

"If you have influence, we would like to see the Iranian government influenced in a positive way so that we can all heave a sigh of relief as to what their true intentions are with regard to nuclear weapons and ambitions," he said.

Lalit K Jha and Ajay Kaul in Washington, DC
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