Press Briefing with Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran on Visit to the United States (Excerpts)

November 19, 2004

. . .

Question (Reuters): On sanctions on two Indian scientists and whether India-Iran relations were discussed in the light of recent developments.

FS: As far as the two Indian scientists, we have publicly stated that there is no basis for the action taken by the US and have conveyed this to the US Administration and we continue to urge there should be an early review (of their case) and these restrictions should be lifted.

Question: Is there a review of the case (by the US authorities)?

FS: We have been told that it is being reviewed but a decision has not yet been taken.

As far as India's relationship with Iran, while discussing regional and international issues, the concern of US with regard to Iran were conveyed to us. We have on our part reiterated that as far as the nuclear issue is concerned, we are of the view that any commitments internationally made by Iran on this issue, Iran should conform to that. At the same time, we have welcomed the fact that some understanding has been reached between the three members of the EU and Iran with regard to this issue and hope that this issue would be resolved satisfactorily.

Question: On executive and legislative measures taken by India on diversion of technology as a result of the current talks.

FS: As far as our record is concerned in this regard, we have had no diversion of sensitive technology. What we are engaged at the moment with US is towards a familiarization with procedures (in this regard) that we have in place. It is not as if we are adopting the US export laws. What we have said is for the two sides be engaged in a dialogue so that there is an element of mutual confidence and trust with regard to diversion of sensitive technology. The exercise to strengthen our legislative and administrative mechanisms is an ongoing exercise and has been taking place for some time. It is not something which is being done at the behest of US.

Of course, if any fresh inputs come out of our ongoing dialogue with US, these could be incorporated in our ongoing exercise.

. . .

Question: Are we suggesting that Iran should conform to international commitments on the nuclear issue?

FS: We are not involved in checking what Iran has been doing and what it is not doing. We are not in a position to pass judgment on Iran. If there are areas, particularly in terms of commitments and obligations that Iran has made under IAEA or as a responsible member of the international community, we expect that Iran would conform to those obligations. If there are any points of controversy, we would like that points of controversy are removed through dialogue and discussions. That is why I said we welcome the understanding between EU and Iran and I think IAEA has also come up with certain statement in this regard.