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US downplays Manmohan Singh's visit to Iran

US downplays Manmohan Singhs visit to Iran

Washington: Downplaying the significance of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's upcoming visit to western sanctions hit Iran, the US has hoped he would convey to Tehran the importance of meeting its international obligations.

"We would hope, as we always do when our partners and allies are involved in any kind of intersection with Iran, that the larger points are made about the importance of Iran coming back into compliance with its international obligations," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters Tuesday.

Tehran could do so "using the opportunity that the P-5+1 (five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany engaged in diplomatic efforts with Iran) has offered for diplomacy to actually make real progress", she suggested when asked about Manmohan Singh's trip to Iran Aug 28 to attend the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit.

The visitors to Iran could "also express concerns about the other alarming trends that we've seen with regard to Iran, including its support for terror", she said generalising her comments.

Asked if this was the message Washington was asking Indians to convey to the Iranians, Nuland parried: "We talk to India bilaterally about all of our concerns with regard to Iran."

"In general, whenever anybody has a chance to see Iranians, we hope they make these larger points with regard to peace and security that we all are signed up to," she said.

Asked if the US was not troubled about the fact of Manmohan Singh's visit to Tehran to attend the NAM summit, Nuland again downplayed the meeting suggesting it may just fizzle out.

"Well, the last international meeting that Iran tried to hold on Syria sort of fizzled a bit, didn't it? So we'll see what happens with this," she said.

Manmohan Singh's visit to Iran, the first by an Indian prime minister in over a decade since Atal Bihari Vajpayee's trip in 2001, is considered significant as it would underline New Delhi's strategic intent to deepen ties with sanctions-hit Tehran in the face of US pressures.


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