PM bats for peaceful solution to Iran issue


India Thursday stressed the need to give diplomacy "maximum possible scope" to resolve the deadlock with Iran over its nuclear ambitions, even as it said Iran has the obligation "not to court nuclear power" as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Amid concern about Iran's nuclear ambitions, especially in the backdrop of the failure of talks at Almaty, PM Manmohan Singh and German Chancellor Angela Merkel touched upon the issue as part of a comprehensive dialogue between the two countries on a range of issues covering bilateral relations and their international engagement.

"Iran is India's neighbour. It is the fourth largest supplier of oil to our country. There are six million Indians who live in the Gulf countries. And therefore, any disturbance of peace and stability in the Gulf region has very severe consequences for evolution of Indian economy. We, therefore, would like a peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues that have arisen with regard to the nuclear ambitions of Iran," Singh said at a press conference with Merkel.

"We have made it quite clear that we respect Iran's right to use atomic energy for peaceful purposes. But being a signatory to the NPT, Iran also has the obligation not to court nuclear weapon power. We know it is a complicated matter. But it is also their wish and hope that diplomacy will be given maximum possible scope to resolve this intricate problem to the satisfaction of all parties concerned," he said.

Referring to her discussions with him over Iran, Merkel said India and Germany are "in complete agreement" over their objectives and concerns. This came in the backdrop of the failure of negotiations by P 5+1 (permanent UNSC members and Germany) at Almaty which had offered easing of sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear programmes.

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