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Left apprised of stand on Iran issue

Special Correspondent

India will strive to ensure that the issue remains within IAEA

NEW DELHI: The Manmohan Singh Government on Monday told the Left parties of its intention to ensure that the Iran nuclear issue remained within the jurisdiction of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

At the eighth meeting of the United Progressive Alliance and the Left parties here, two days ahead of the crucial IAEA meeting in Vienna, the Government apprised the Left leaders of the progress made. The indication is that there is a possibility that there will be no voting and till now there has been no draft resolution suggesting that the matter be taken to the United Nations Security Council.

"The Government informed the Left parties of the progress made through diplomatic efforts. It was noted that the Government's intention was to ensure that the matter remains within the jurisdiction of the IAEA," Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram told correspondents after the meeting.

"We wanted to hear the Government state its stand [on the Iran issue]," Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat said. He said the CPI (M) had maintained the issue should be kept within the confines of the IAEA and should not go beyond it.

"We have been insisting that the Government should not be a party to any move that refers the matter to the U.N. Security Council," he added. CPI (M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury told correspondents that the Left stand had been that any dispute regarding Iran's nuclear capabilities should be kept within the IAEA and that the Government concurred with this view. Being an NPT signatory, Iran had both its rights and obligations.

Pension Fund Regulation Bill

Besides Iran, the meeting took up the issue of Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, the proposal to offload government equity in profit-making public sector undertakings, proposed legislation including the National Disaster Management Authority Bill, the Communal Harmony Bill and the Scheduled Tribes (Regulation of Forest Rights) Bill.

The Left parties sought to know the status of the Women's Reservation Bill and the move on Central legislation providing for reservation in private, unaided professional educational institutions.

The Government gave a note on the Pension Fund Bill, now before Parliament. The Left parties agreed to send in their response shortly. The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha during March this year and the Standing Committee has already scrutinised it.

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