WASHINGTON D.C. -- Today, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), co-chair of the House Bipartisan Taskforce on Nonproliferation, echoed a new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) detailing India’s long history of support for Iran’s nuclear program.  With President Bush pushing the Congress to change decades-old nuclear export laws to allow nuclear trade with India, which was cut off after that country developed nuclear weapons, many experts and Members of Congress have voiced concerns about India’s close ties to Iran.  In July 2006, Rep. Markey introduced an amendment to the India deal to require the President to certify that India was fully supporting United States efforts to prevent Iran’s development of nuclear weapons and other WMD.

“President Bush has tried to sell this nuclear deal by claiming that India is our natural ally, but as Ronald Reagan once said, ‘Trust, but verify.’  It is clear that on the issue of preventing Iran from going nuclear – and on the crucial issue of nonproliferation – India’s record is not encouraging,” Rep. Markey said.

Rep. Markey continued, “Why has India repeatedly insisted that it is Iran’s inalienable right to develop nuclear technologies?  It should raise eyebrows all over the world to hear the Indian Foreign Minister say that India ‘has and would continue to help Iran in its controversial bid to generate nuclear energy.’  How can we even consider eviscerating our nonproliferation laws to send advanced nuclear technologies to India while they are playing defense for one of the world’s most dangerous nuclear wannabes?”

“I urge my colleagues in the Senate to investigate these issues thoroughly before they cast a single vote,” Rep. Markey concluded.

The Congressional Research Service Report, titled “India and Iran: WMD Proliferation Activities,” details many disturbing ties between India and Iran, as well as other significant problems in India’s proliferation record, including:

    - The U.S. has repeatedly sanctioned Indian companies and scientists for transferring WMD technologies and materials to Iran  and other countries.  In 2004, sanctions were imposed on the Chairman and the Managing Director of the Nuclear Power         Corporation of India for nuclear-related transfers to Iran.  The two scientists reportedly transferred information on the extraction of tritium, which can be used to boost the yield of nuclear weapons.  In July 2006, two Indian companies were sanctioned by the U.S. for transfers of dangerous chemicals to Iran.  
    - India agreed to provide Iran a 10-megawatt nuclear reactor in 1991.  While this deal was cancelled under U.S. pressure, India reportedly trained Iranian nuclear engineers.
In the September 2006 joint statement on Iran’s nuclear program released by the Non-Aligned Movement, India called nuclear research and development a “basic inalienable right” of Iran’s, and said that nuclear “choices and decisions” of different countries “must be respected.”
    - India has refused to join the international Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a coalition of more than 70 nations dedicated to intercepting shipments of WMD materials.  India has said that it has “certain concerns regarding [PSI’s] legal implications.”
    - Observers question India’s commitment to strengthening and enforcing its domestic export control system, which are meant to control dual-use technologies that can be misdirected to WMD development.  An unclassified 2000 CIA report stated that, “Many of these countries—such as India, Iran and Pakistan—do not adhere to the export restraints embodied in such supplier groups as the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime.”
    - India’s participation in proliferating WMD and missile technologies to other countries is also noted as a concern.  An unclassified 2001 CIA report to Congress called India a “secondary proliferator” who is “beginning to supply technology and expertise to other proliferators.”   Also called “secondary proliferators” were Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan.

A copy of the CRS report can be found here: Nov 8 2006 - CRS - India and Iran WMD Proliferation Activities.pdf 

For more on Rep. Markey’s nonproliferation work, please go to:

November 14, 2006

CONTACT: Israel Klein