The United States said that comments by Iran’s top nuclear negotiator that New Delhi received preferential international treatment on nuclear proliferation issues were “outrageous”. “We have seen the comments. They are outrageous,” US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said in response to last week’s comments by Iranian official Ali Larijani that Iran had a right to pursue peaceful nuclear activities. Last week, Iranian official Ali Larijani had said:”Iran submits to international inspections while several nations that already possess nuclear weapons do not. Countries that produce nuclear weapons are neither members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) nor signatories to the (nuclear) Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Americans say (to Iran) ‘we doubt and we suspect your intentions, you may in future develop nuclear weapons,’ while IAEA reports say that Iran is 10 years away from being capable of developing weapons. But compare that to India, it does have nuclear weapons but they have extensive relations in the nuclear field. This dual standard is detrimental to international security.” Burns, who held talks with Indian foreign secretary Shyam Saran on a landmark nuclear deal between India and the US signed in July, said India could not be compared to Iran on the nonproliferation issue. “How is it possible to compare India with Iran? India has been very careful with its nuclear programme,” he said, adding that Iran has been conducting secret nuclear research for 18 years. “A government that has earned the criticism of Russia, China, the European Union … should suspend its nuclear programme,” he added. He reiterated the US stand that Iran should be referred to the United Nations Security Council for pursuing its nuclear programme.”Iran is a threat to international peace. It has overstepped the boundaries of international law,” Burns said. “It should know that there is a penalty for that.” Under the Indo-US nuclear deal, signed by US President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in July, India would get advanced nuclear technology which it has been denied for 30 years for conducting nuclear tests and not signing the NPT. The deal has to be approved by the US Congress and the 44-member Nuclear Suppliers’ Group. Critics of the deal say it will send the wrong message on non-proliferation to other nations.In the wake of the agreement, India has appeared to fall in line with Western efforts to restrict Iran’s nuclear programme. In September, India voted in favour of a resolution at the IAEA drafted by Britain, Germany and France, sometimes called the EU-3, to refer Iran’s nuclear program to the UN Security Council.