Sunday, October 24, 2004

India: More nuke scientist to face US sanctions


While India struggles hard to get a reprieve for its two scientists, YSR Prasad and C Surender, the former heads of the state-run Nuclear Corporation of India alleged to have links with Iran’s nuclear programme, the US media has reported that more Indian scientists could face sanctions. US authorities insist that Mr Prasad and Mr Surender have helped Iran achieve its nuclear ambitions. Washington Times says the Bush administration will not only maintain the sanctions on the two Indian scientists, but has further approved additional curbs that could be imposed on New Delhi “in near future” in response to “other Indian transfers of weapons-related goods to Iran”.
More Indian scientists could face US sanctions

ISLAMABAD: While India struggles hard to get a reprieve for its two scientists, YSR Prasad and C Surender, the former heads of the state-run Nuclear Corporation of India alleged to have links with Iran’s nuclear programme, the US media has reported that more Indian scientists could face sanctions.

According to Reuters, the US administration is considering imposing sanctions on one to three more Indian “entities” for aiding what Washington insists is a nuclear weapons programme. The Indian scientists are believed to have passed on to Iran the technology of producing tritium, a radioactive isotope used in developing an atomic bomb.

US authorities insist that Mr Prasad and Mr Surender have helped Iran achieve its nuclear ambitions. Washington Times says the Bush administration will not only maintain the sanctions on the two Indian scientists, but has further approved additional curbs that could be imposed on New Delhi “in near future” in response to “other Indian transfers of weapons-related goods to Iran”.

Reuters quoted a senior US official as saying that the Bush administration might reconsider sanctions against the two Indian scientists if Delhi proffered “significant and convincing proof” that they were not involved in Iran’s nuclear programme.

The US official, who asked not to be named, cautioned against predicting that the sanctions, which bar the men from doing business with Washington, would be lifted or waived. He told Reuters: “The Indians are being given a chance now to clarify, rebut, and give us any information and we promise we’ll consider it.”

The issue was to be raised during US Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca’s visit to New Delhi this week, but the Indians did not discuss it with Ms Rocca.

APP 24/10/2004