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Iran seeks global support for its N-programme
Ashok Tuteja/Tribune News Service

Tehran, April 18
Even as the threat of a fourth round of UN sanction loomed large over it, Iran appeared to have partially succeeded in ending its global isolation on the nuclear issue if one were to draw any conclusion from the two-day international conference on nuclear disarmament which ended in Tehran tonight.

Contrary to expectations, the response to the meet, held just four days after the Nuclear Security Summit hosted by US President Barack Obama, was overwhelming with nearly 60 countries from different continents attending the conference.

Iran has faced international pressure over its nuclear technology and research programme, which the West alleges, is aimed at developing atomic weapons. Iran contends that it is meant only for civilian ends.

Iranians are incensed over the Obama administration’s recent rewriting of the US policy on nuclear weapons, which ruled out using such arms against non-nuclear countries that comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of which Iran is a signatory. The US says that the Islamic Republic has violated the treaty; Iran says it is in compliance.

Tehran also condemned the Washington conference, which was partly a precursor to seeking new sanctions against Iran within the UN Security Council.

The forum of the Tehran disarmament conference was extensively used by the Iranian leadership for garnering support for its nuclear programme and for bashing the US and Israel, while calling upon other states to unitedly face the challenge from ‘Zionist’ forces.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad went to the extent of demanding the suspension of the US from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the global nuclear watchdog, and its Board of Governors. He also called for the revision of the NPT amid the growing demand in Iran that the country should withdraw from the treaty as it was discriminatory in nature and heavily loaded in favour of nuclear weapon states.

China and Russia, two of the strategic allies of Iran that have appeared to back away from Tehran under Western pressure, sent deputy foreign ministers to the conference. Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, Oman and Syria, Iran’s main strategic ally, sent foreign ministers, and Pakistan’s ambassador to Tehran attended the meet. India’s participation was at the level of a joint secretary in the External affairs Ministry. The Iranians said they would appreciate a higher level of participation from India.

Meanwhile, the Chinese representative at the conference said his country’s was against imposing financial, trade and energy sanctions on Iran. “The conference is constructive and China is satisfied for attending a conference on disarmament and it appreciates Iran for organising such a conference,” the Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister said.

Referring to China’s opposition against international sanction on Iran, the Chinese official said, “on the other hand China believes that Iran as a member of NPT is responsible for abiding by its commitments.” He added that since China was Iran’s old friend, it wanted Tehran to fulfill its political commitments to international organisations.

China’s dilemma over going along with fresh sanctions against Iran is quite understandable since it depends heavily on Tehran for meeting its gas and oil needs. In recent years, China has also emerged as Iran’s largest exporter.

Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon also expressed support for Iran’s nuclear programme and stated that Israel should be forced to dismantle its nuclear weapons.





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