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. Iran should not acquire nuclear weapons, Indian PM tells Rice
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) Sep 16, 2005
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made it clear Thursday that Iran should not acquire nuclear weapons, a US official said after the leader's talks with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Singh said that India "doesn't wish Iran to become a nuclear state," US Undersecretary for political affairs Nicholas Burns told reporters.

"We are gratified by what we've heard," Burns said after the talks on the sidelines of a UN Summit.

India has come under attack in the US Congress over its growing energy and other economic cooperation with Iran, which has been accused of secretly trying to build nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian energy program.

Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh had angered US legislators over what they saw as anti-US remarks when he held talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week.

Questioning India's motives, some US legislators warned that if New Delhi did not support any bid by Washington to refer Iran to the Security Council, the administration of President George W. Bush should freeze its landmark agreement to expand nuclear cooperation with India.

The nuclear pact, which could only be implemented after Congress amended certain US laws, is part of a bold strategic partnership announced by Bush after talks with Singh in July.

The US and European powers have warned they will push for Iran's nuclear case to be sent to the Security Council -- which could impose sanctions -- if Tehran does not halt all nuclear fuel work and resume negotiations with the European Union.

Bush expressed concern over Iran's nuclear program in talks with Singh and Chinese leader Hu Jintao this week.

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