An unnecessary controversy has been raged on the reported statement of the U.S. Ambassador to India David C. Mulford. India’s foreign office, in a panic reaction, summoned the Ambassador and gave a dressing down to him. Under the heading ‘ Reject the American Fatwa (the Islamic religious decree)’, The Hindu, an India newspaper comments editorially: ‘ In publicly warning India, on (Indian) Republic Day eve, to vote against Iran or else, United States Ambassador David Mulford has outrageously crossed the line of diplomatic propriety. It is a typical case of making a mountain out of a molehill. The poor chap Mulford has attempted to clear his position in a statement which is being reproduced here. I regret that my comments to the Press Trust of India (PTI) today have been taken out of context. As I noted to the PTI reporters, Iran is a matter where we know India will vote on the basis of its own national interest. Because of the confusion that earlier reports have sown, I have released below the full text of my comments on Iran. Can we come to Iran? Now the vote is coming up on February 2. The Indian stand so far has been non-committal on supporting referral to the Security Council. They are saying that it should be done within the framework of the IAEA. Now how does U.S Ambassador David Mulford look at this? : What’s India saying? Give that to me again? They want it within the framework which they said last time also. IAEA. They want that it should be resolved amicably within the IAEA. IAEA framework. They don’t want it to go to the U.N. Security Council. Well, I mean the U.S. position is, and was at the time of the September resolution, and the resolution itself found Iran in violation and it was not at that moment immediately referred to the United Nations Security Council because it was agreed that there would be a sort of window of time provided to Iran to respond to diplomacy on the issue. That’s how I understand the September vote took place. And India’s vote at that time was, and I believe it’s clearly demonstrable, it was a vote that was based on India’s judgment of its own national interest. You know India didn’t decide to vote to please the United States. They don’t want Iran to have the nuclear weapon. As they put it to me, there are enough nuclear weapons in this neighbourhood, they don’t need another neighbour with nuclear weapons and they are opposed to that. So, now we come to the meeting where the proposal is going to be to refer the matter to the United Nations Security Council, and India will once again have to make a determination of what its national interests are and I think that’s an issue that can be left firmly in the hands of the Indian government to determine. Are you going to have any talks with the government of India, before the visit? I don’t think so, well, I mean obviously we will, we have made it known to them, I would say two points. One is that we would very much like their support because India has arrived on the world stage and is a very, very important player in the world, and if it opposes Iran having a nuclear weapon we think they should record this in the vote. The second point is, and this is an observation that we have passed on – you know an observation is a neutral statement – and that is, that if they decide that they don’t want to vote for this, our view is that the effect on members of Congress with regard to this civil nuclear initiative will be devastating. Devastating? Devastating. I mean I think the Congress will simply stop considering the matter. I think the initiative will die in the Congress. Not because the Administration would want it to, but the Congress will, you already saw in September the reaction that came from members of Congress when they thought India might not vote. And you remember when they did vote there was an outburst of strong support for India. So again I think this is part of the calculation that India has to keep in mind. It isn’t just the United States, I think the Nuclear Suppliers Group would say, wait a minute, if we are going to make this very special change for, you know, one time change, you need to change for India in the nuclear field, and they don’t stand up on this issue, why should we make the change. So I think it would affect the Nuclear Suppliers Group as well. In other words India will have to keep this as a factor? We made that observation. I mean they will have to make the decision. It’s up to them like it was last time. They will have to vote their national interest on this.