India urges dialogue on Iran nuclear program
India on Tuesday announced its opposition to any sanctions that would affect the Iranian people, amid western struggles to punish it for uranium enrichment, Press TV reported.
"It continues to be our view that sanctions that target Iranian people and cause difficulties to the ordinary man, woman and child would not be conducive to a resolution of this question," said India's foreign minister, Nirupama Rao, in Washington.
"We believe, Iran has both rights and responsibilities. Responsibilities, stemming from its membership of the [Nuclear Non-Proliferation] NPT and also rights to develop its nuclear energy for peaceful process," she said.
Iran, a signatory to the NPT, says its program is aimed at the civilian applications of the technology. The West, however, accuses it of seeking nuclear weapons.
The Indian minister, meanwhile, called for dialogue, saying Iran has a "very important role" in the Middle East, The Hindu reported.
"We do not want more instability in that region," she said in an allusion to the two ongoing wars in the Iraq and Afghanistan.
The White House has stepped up efforts to impose new UN Security Council sanctions resolutions against Tehran. However, China, which relies on oil imports from Saudi Arabia and Iran, has forcefully rejected the move and has called for negotiation to resolve the standoff.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently visited Riyadh to lobby for Iran sanctions, and to force the Saudi king to assure the Chinese of oil supplies after new sanctions were adopted against Tehran.
Riyadh, however, reacted to the request and said China knows what it should do in regards to Iran, AFP reported.
"China is perfectly aware of the scope of its responsibilities and its obligations, including in the position it holds on the international stage and as a permanent member of the (UN) Security Council," Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told Al-Riyadh newspaper.