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Old 03-02-2006, 01:23 PM   #1
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A Model For Iran?

India, US seal nuclear deal

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India and the United States sealed a landmark civilian nuclear cooperation pact on Thursday, the centerpiece of President George W. Bush's first visit to the world's largest democracy.

The pact marks a major breakthrough for New Delhi, long treated as a nuclear pariah by the world, as it allows it to access American atomic technology and fuel to meet its soaring energy needs -- provided the U.S. Congress gives its approval.

It is also expected to allow atomic trade between India and other nuclear powers if the Nuclear Suppliers Group, an informal group of nations that controls global nuclear transactions, follows suit by lifting curbs on New Delhi.

"We have concluded an historic agreement today on nuclear power," Bush told a joint news conference with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after their summit talks.

...

The U.N. nuclear watchdog welcomed the pact and said it would end New Delhi's nuclear isolation and spur global non-proliferation efforts.

"It would be a milestone, timely for ongoing efforts to consolidate the non-proliferation regime, combat nuclear terrorism and strengthen nuclear safety," said Mohammed ElBaradei, International Atomic Energy Authority chief.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair echoed ElBaradei.

"I believe that the deal can make a significant contribution to energy security, development, economic and environmental objectives for India and the international community as well as representing a net gain for the non-proliferation regime," he said.
If this works for India, would it work for Iran as well?
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Old 03-02-2006, 04:54 PM   #2
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Isn't Iran in talks with Russia to do some kind nuclear-fuel enrichment for energy usage deal? Not sure how far along they are or how much international support they'll get. (Of course, the difference is India already has the bomb...Iran doesn't. Aside from the usual platitutdes in the story about India/U.S. pact, I don't quite understand how this changes anything to do with India's nuclear standing. Will need to read more, i guess, to understand the whole politics of it.)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...022600372.html

Iran, Russia Reach Tentative Nuclear Deal
Details of Venture to Enrich Uranium Not Yet Set; Agreement Could Prevent Showdown at U.N.

By Peter Finn
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, February 27, 2006; Page A09

MOSCOW, Feb. 26 -- The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said Sunday that his country had agreed in principle to set up a joint uranium enrichment project with Russia, a potential breakthrough in efforts to prevent an international confrontation over Iran's nuclear ambitions.
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Old 03-02-2006, 06:05 PM   #3
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More on this from cnn.com:

"But India -- which first tested its nuclear weapons nearly eight years ago -- will keep eight sites for secret military purposes under the terms of the deal, reached after intense negotiation.

...

"India has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty designed to stop the spread of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear nations, and critics say the India deal could undermine the international pact."

I wonder if Bush would try for a similar pact with Pakistan.

Also, cnn should try to do some research. India first detonated a nuclear bomb in '74, not "8 years ago." (But maybe they mean tested on a missile.)
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Old 03-03-2006, 12:33 PM   #4
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A model for Iran? Certainly the deal with India is not much like anything that the US, Russia or other actors have been suggesting for Iran. It takes as a given that India already has nuclear weapons; that it will continue to produce more (possibly lots more, as the proposed lifting of the ban on selling them uranium could provide enough new fissile material to make up to 50 new weapons per year); and for that matter, that India already has both the capacity both to enrich uranium domestically (which this pact will in no way hamper) and to use the spent fuel from its power plants as a source for weapons-grade plutonium (via its off-limits fast breeder reactors). Furthermore, India will retain sole authority to decide which of its future plants will be off-limits to inspection, and to withdraw from allowing any inspections at all should uranium sales sanctions be re-imposed.

My own take would be that the Indo-US pact--which is shaping up to face a tough fight in Congress--represents not a proposed new template for dealing with nuclear ambitions outside the boundaries of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (which Iran *has* signed, but India has not), but rather a realpolitik calculation that India is trustworthy enough as an ally (to us) and unlikely enough to diffuse weapons technology to "rogue states" underhandedly, that it makes sense to help it out with its looming energy crisis (not a problem Iran is facing, given its enormous oil and natural gas reserves). And of course, the unspoken but all-too-obvious desirability (again, to us) of cultivating a robustly nuclearized India as a counterweight to China doesn't hurt either.

Could you flesh out a bit why this might make a good model for Iran?
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Old 03-04-2006, 01:11 PM   #5
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Update: And predictably, Pakistan's hopes for getting a similar deal out of Bush's visit there have been firmly quashed.
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Old 03-04-2006, 03:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
Could you flesh out a bit why this might make a good model for Iran?
In brief - at a high level, the model supports a country's effort to develop civilian use nuclear power, but prohibits military use of the nuclear program and maintains open inspections of the facilities.

Nuclear power in Iran is not the problem. Refining military grade plutonium is the problem.
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Old 03-04-2006, 11:29 PM   #7
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Well, the India deal doesn't impose any such restrictions--India would be able to keep the spent fuel from their civilian plants, and if anything, being able to buy enriched uranium from elsewhere would free them up to continue enriching their own domestic supplies for whatever purpose they like. Which has got to be galling to Iran--hence the objections that this pact is setting a bad example. Of course it's also true that India has a good rep as far as not sharing technology illegally, and that they're a stable democracy with extremists at the helm an unlikely possibility--and the IAEA is certainly happy to see India finally having some transparency to their program, as far as that goes. Still I can't imagine Iran isn't seething at the contradictions.

It's kind of diappointing more people aren't interested in discussing this story as it really is a pretty big deal on the foreign policy front. Oh well.
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Old 03-04-2006, 11:53 PM   #8
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I guess China and India have been getting a bit chummy for Bush's comfort.
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Old 03-05-2006, 12:02 AM   #9
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I believe that India is the best possible ally in the future.
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Old 03-05-2006, 12:28 PM   #10
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There's probably no chance of India getting buddy-buddy with China anytime soon--as the only two countries with populations surpassing one billion, they're in perpetual competition with each other for resources (particularly energy) and political power in Asia, plus they continue to disagree on whose borders are where in the Himalayan region, and China continues to be annoyed by India's "meddling" in Tibet, Nepal and some of the other less stable countries in the Himalayan fringe. Then there's China's history of warmer relations with Pakistan (the world's 6th most populous country) and tradition of cultivating Pakistan as a counterweight to Indian power. For all these reasons and others, I think we're unlikely to see the emergence of a Sino-Indian axis anytime soon. Nonetheless, there's no doubt that the US would like to see India catch up economically and militarily to the point where they could more effectively serve as a counterweight to Chinese expansionism.

In general, I'd agree with A_W that cultivating an alliance with India is a wise choice--though I'm not convinced the American political establishment fully appreciates India's own potential for belligerent, saber-rattling behavior. Nor the kind of message this sends to more conspicuously troublesome nuclear aspirants globally about the depth of US commitment to combating nonproliferation by fair means (i.e., equal treatment under international law). It may be that international cynicism about the latter has already reached the point of effectively undermining the Non-Proliferation Treaty's aims, but I would have serious reservations about treating that as a foregone conclusion.
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Associated Press, March 5, 2006

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Iran could still reach a nuclear agreement with Russia or Europe within the next few hours. But he said such a deal would be called off if Iran was referred to the Security Council, and he added that the Russian proposal to enrich Iranian nuclear fuel needed more discussion.

Asefi also criticized what he described as the double standard in U.S. nuclear policy, citing Washington's recent deal with India as an example. "The United States' approach is a form of double standards. It signed a contract with a country that was not a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. That is objectionable," he told a news briefing. "On the other hand, it approaches Iran in such a (bad) way."
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Old 03-05-2006, 01:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

though I'm not convinced the American political establishment fully appreciates India's own potential for belligerent, saber-rattling behavior.
Neither am I...particularly since the US political establishment doesn't take kindly to those who don't do as they're told.

To the extent that this becomes a future relations problem, I'm sure China and India will continue to try to settle their differences and America will continue to get in the middle.


Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

Nor the kind of message this sends to more conspicuously troublesome nuclear aspirants globally about the depth of US commitment to combating nonproliferation by fair means (i.e., equal treatment under international law).
Many already know that international law won't benefit them and they aren't going to be treated fairly.

If Americans had an hysterical, knee-jerk reaction to Arab ownership of port companies, imagine the reaction to a nuclear alliance with Iran.

Either way it fuels Anti-American propoganda machines.
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Old 03-05-2006, 02:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by AliEnvy
...the US political establishment doesn't take kindly to those who don't do as they're told.

To the extent that this becomes a future relations problem, I'm sure China and India will continue to try to settle their differences and America will continue to get in the middle.
Interestingly, the predominant reaction to this deal in the Arab press thus far has not been so much "India getting preferential treatment--unfair!" (though there is plenty of that) as it has been "Watch out, India! Once they get you dependent on them for enriched uranium, then the smiles and handshakes will end and you will find out just how fair-weather a friend the US really is." Many of the Pakistani papers are (ruefully and in light of past experience) suggesting the same thing.

However, I think India is cannier than many of these naysayers are giving them credit for. While they do desperately need outside uranium sources in the short run to avoid an energy crisis, this pact will not prevent them from continuing to develop their fast breeder program, which many Indian scientists estimate is only 15 years away from being able to convert thorium (of which India holds 40% of the world's supplies) into uranium-233 (useful for both energy and bombs) using plutonium derived from the spent fuel of their civilian reactors. There is no guarantee that this will pan out, and no-one has successfully converted thorium into uranium before; on the other hand, India's nuclear program has made tremendous progress up until now despite near-total isolation from cash, know-how and supplies help from outside. So to some extent I suspect they see this deal as, if nothing else, buying them some time and breathing room in which to pursue that goal. If they achieve it, then they will no longer be dependent on anyone for either their energy or their weapons stockpiling needs.

Regarding China though--and without losing awareness of the vested interests the US has in strengthening Delhi vis-a-vis Beijing--it does seem equally problematic for the US to continue rewarding China with beneficial trade agreements, while not tossing any bones to their far more democratic and progressive neighbor to the south. This has long been a grievance for India. While this pact--if it goes through--certainly has the potential (in tandem with many, many other contingencies) to dramatically change the prior balance of power in Sino-Indian relations, I don't know how likely it is in and of itself to drastically exacerbate the considerable potential for conflict that already exists. Except in the indirect sense that if the Hindu nationalists return to power, India *might* return to its previously more belligerent tone on Kashmir--thus reawakening the potential for yet another Indo-Pak war, in which China would almost certainly side with Pakistan as they have in the past.

Nonetheless, from a realpolitik POV, the fact remains that a nuclearized India does not currently evoke the range of short-term nightmare possibilities that a nuclearized Iran does. And that a nuclearized India, like it or not, is already a long-established fact on the ground in any case. Doesn't really address the fairness issue...but then that throws us right back to the original question of whether it's ultimately in everyone's best interests to treat all nuclear aspirants the same.
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Old 03-06-2006, 01:45 AM   #13
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Update: While the American opposition to the Indo-US pact (the Arms Control Association, et al.) is continuing to assume that it will not require India to account for spent fuel from the reactors classified as "civilian," a leading Indian opposition party, the BJP, today suddenly began aggressively demanding the government spell out precisely what the status of the spent fuel will be, suggesting they have heard otherwise.

So, perhaps we will have to wait until the full terms of the pact are formally spelled out to be sure about this important detail. It's a bit hard to evaluate how much it would change things if India were *not* allowed to reprocess the fuel from those reactors classified as "civilian". Normally, such a limitation would mean no more supply links between "military" and "civilian" plants--but, as part of the "India-specific" rubric the US negotiators developed for this pact, India was allowed to classify as "military" several reactors which are, in fact, also used for energy (this was in recognition of the fact that their nuclear program has developed in a uniquely undifferentiated way). So, at a bare minimum, they would at least be able to continue deriving plutonium from the spent fuel of these "military" energy plants, using *domestic* uranium supplies (which, as mentioned above, would be freed up for this purpose by the anticipated influx of enriched uranium from abroad). This would mean less plutonium than if the deal were *not* to include free re-use of spent imported fuel...but still more than before.

Looks like we may have to wait awhile for final answers on this one.
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Old 11-21-2006, 01:52 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
There's probably no chance of India getting buddy-buddy with China anytime soon...
Depending on how best to interpret the below, one could either argue that this confirms that assessment...or that I spoke too soon. Either way, it's an interesting new twist to the story.
Quote:
China woos India and Pakistan with nuclear know-how

By Mark Sappenfield and David Montero
Christian Science Monitor, Nov 21


NEW DELHI; ISLAMABAD – The race for influence in South Asia is taking a nuclear turn. In recent days, reports have emerged that both the United States and China are prepared to alter the nuclear establishment in order to curry favor with South Asia's two powers: India and Pakistan. The American offer was expected. The keystone of President Bush's longstanding efforts to expand ties with India is a deal to share civilian nuclear technology, which the Senate passed Friday. What has come as more of a surprise is a report that China is preparing to give similar help to Pakistan.

The game of nuclear brinksmanship comes as Chinese President Hu Jintao spends this week between Delhi and Islamabad, where he will look to reaffirm ties with China's old ally, Pakistan, and to forge new ones with its erstwhile enemy, India. It marks open season for courtship on the subcontinent, in which the US and China are willing to rewrite the rule book for nuclear nonproliferation--offering nuclear know-how to two countries that built nuclear-weapons programs in defiance of the international community--in order to outflank each other in a regional power play. "With the US using India to checkmate China, China will counter by supporting Pakistan," says Kaiser Bengali, an analyst in Karachi. "Using the nuclear card is a new phenomenon."

It is a tactic that causes considerable consternation, both in the United States and elsewhere. Though both nuclear deals are confined to civilian nuclear technology, both India and Pakistan have distanced themselves from the international nuclear regime in order to build their nuclear-weapons programs. That means they have not agreed to the same rules for nonproliferation. Yet just as the decades-old international regime of nuclear checks and balances has failed to deal with the challenges of Iran and North Korea, it has similarly failed to account for the growing clout of India and Pakistan, who have become established--though unofficial--nuclear powers.

The result, however, is another example of how the old nuclear order is falling into disarray. "This is a sign of chaos," says Stephen Cohen of the Brookings Institution in Washington. "There is no gameplan."

The US has placated critics by demanding transparency from the Indians. According to the terms of the agreement signed by President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, American technology and fuel can be used only in civilian nuclear facilities, and these facilities must be open to international inspectors. The House passed the agreement this summer. Now, after the Senate's approval last week, it awaits a vote before the full Congress.

With regard to Pakistan, only a Reuters report released last week offers any potential specifics, suggesting that later this week President Hu will announce China's intention to help Pakistan build six civilian reactors. So far, the Pakistani government has denied this report. But experts and Pakistani officials confirm China's general intention to help build Pakistan's civilian nuclear-power program in the future. Ashfaq Hassan Khan, an economic adviser to Pakistan's Finance Ministry, says China will play a central role in Pakistan's intention to increase its nuclear energy to 8,000 megawatts by 2025.

It should come as no surprise. While India and China have often been at odds--and sometimes at war--China and Pakistan have formed one of the world's most durable and overlooked alliances during the past 40 years. China has emerged as Pakistan's largest arms supplier, selling everything from aircraft to missiles to naval vessels. In return, the Chinese have nurtured Pakistan as a loyal counterweight to India and as an access route to Central Asian and Middle Eastern energy, which the Chinese desperately need, given their exploding energy demands. To that end, China is developing a major port on Pakistan's Arabian Sea coast, from which Persian Gulf oil will flow back to the Chinese interior. Pakistan, however, also needs energy, with its power demands expected to double by 2015. Already, China helped Pakistan build a 300-megawatt nuclear reactor in 1999.

But Pakistan turned to the US in hopes of getting the same deal that the US gave to India. When Pakistan was rebuffed amid concerns over security, it turned to its old standby. China has often taken a lead role in Pakistan's nuclear adventures. China provided Pakistan with some of its first nuclear technology in the 1960s, and its continuing help has been seen as crucial in Pakistan's development and test of the bomb in 1998. China is also considered to have been a principal enabler for Abdul Qadeer Khan, the former head of Pakistan's nuclear program, who sold nuclear secrets around the world.

China's dealings with India are far more uncertain. A report in the Boston Globe suggested that China was on the verge of signing a civilian nuclear deal with India, similar to India's deal with the US. (The Monitor was unable to independently verify this report before press time.) [In fact, it does look like the Globe may have jumped the gun here; all PM Singh has said publically so far is that "cooperation in the field of civilian nuclear energy will be promoted," and the Indian press are suggesting the deal simply constitutes a "statement of intent," with no actual mechanics worked out. From an Indian POV this may be, among other things, a way of signaling displeasure with Washington over Congressional foot-dragging and tacking on of amendments to the original Indo-US deal signed by Bush. The deal reportedly also includes a vaguely worded promise from China to push for greater influence for India in the UN...which may or may not allude to the permanent Security Council seat India covets. --y.]

President Hu is expected to push for free-trade rights for Chinese businesses in India on his trip. He isn't expected to get it. China's role as armory to India's sworn enemy is only part of the rub. Recently, China announced a plan to dam the mighty Brahmaputra River just before it reaches the Indian border. Also, in 1962, India was roundly defeated in a brief border war with China, though it managed to hold on to its territory. Yet China still claims an entire Indian state as its own--the Chinese ambassador to India went so far as to openly claim China's ownership of Arunachal Pradesh earlier this month.
It's still unclear what the final form of the Indo-US nuclear deal will look like, but I remain skeptical of the idea that Iran would (or should) be able to secure anything of the sort...from the US, anyway. It will be interesting to see how Washington reacts to this latest development.
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Old 10-01-2008, 11:50 PM   #15
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Congress Approves US-India Nuclear Deal

By PETER BAKER
New York Times, October 1



WASHINGTON — The United States opened a new chapter of cooperation with India on Wednesday night as Congress gave final approval to a breakthrough agreement permitting civilian nuclear trade between the two countries for the first time in three decades. The Senate ratified the deal 86 to 13 a week after the House passed it, handing a rare foreign policy victory to President Bush in the twilight of his administration and culminating a three-year debate that raised alarms about a new arms race and nearly toppled the government of India.

The agreement, in the view of its authors, will redefine relations between two countries often at odds during the cold war and build up India as a friendly counterweight to a rising China. But critics complain that it effectively scraps longstanding policies designed to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and that it could encourage nations like Pakistan, Iran and North Korea to accelerate their own programs outside international legal structures.

Under the terms of the deal, the United States will now be able to sell nuclear fuel, technology and reactors to India for peaceful energy use despite the fact that New Delhi tested bombs in 1974 and 1998 and never signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. In exchange, India agreed to open up 14 civilian nuclear facilities to international inspection, but would continue to shield eight military reactors from outside scrutiny.

“The national security and economic future of the United States will be enhanced by a strong and enduring partnership with India,” Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said in the Senate debate on Wednesday. “With a well-educated overall middle class that is larger than the entire United States population, India can be an anchor of stability in Asia and an engine of economic growth.”

Senator Byron Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, called the deal a “grievous mistake” that would reward rogue behavior. “We have said to India with this agreement: ‘You can misuse American nuclear technology and secretly develop nuclear weapons.’ That’s what they did. ‘You can test these weapons.’ That’s what they did,” Mr. Dorgan said. He added: “And after testing, 10 years later, all will be forgiven.” Mr. Dorgan and Senator Jeff Bingaman, Democrat of New Mexico, tried to amend the agreement to explicitly require the United States to cut off nuclear trade if India conducted a new nuclear test. The agreement’s backers defeated the proposal, arguing that it was unnecessary and that nuclear trade would be halted in such a situation.

Mr. Bush has been pursuing the agreement since 2005 and his advisers have called closer relations between the United States and India a key part of his foreign policy legacy. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, visiting Mr. Bush at the White House last week, endorsed that view. “When history is written,” he said, “I think it will be recorded that President George W. Bush made an historic goal in bringing our two democracies closer to each other.”

But the nuclear accord has proved even more controversial at home for Mr. Singh than for Mr. Bush. Opposition parties have tried to bring down Mr. Singh’s government and the Communist Party dropped out of his governing coalition in protest of the deal, but he survived a confidence vote. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice heads this week to New Delhi to mark the success of their nuclear negotiations.

For India, the pact signals the end of 34 years of isolation among nuclear powers—what the New Delhi government calls “nuclear apartheid.” The United States last month convinced the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a consortium of 45 nations that Washington formed in response to the Indian test in 1974, to lift longstanding restrictions on nuclear trade with India. France and Russia are eager to bid for India’s business. The United States-India Business Council, which promoted the deal, estimates that India may spend as much as $175 billion over the next quarter century expanding its nuclear industry to cope with rising energy demands. Companies like General Electric, Westinghouse and Bechtel will now be able to compete for contracts. “This is one of those historic, important, tectonic shifts in relations with another country,” said Ron Somers, the Council’s president. “This is a country we need to be partnering with and I would argue will be shaping the destiny of the 21st century.”

Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Henry L. Stimson Center, a research organization in Washington, called the promise of big dollars and American jobs “pure fantasy” and predicted that the United States would regret further opening the nuclear door. “There will be a reckoning for this agreement,” he said. “You can argue till you’re blue in the face that India is a special case. But what happens in one country affects what happens in others.”
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