India’s Iran stance will be crucial at the U.N.
India took its deserved place at the world’s most powerful table on Tuesday, winning a two-year seat on the United Nations Security Council with the resounding support of 187 of the assembly’s 192 countries.
Immediately, the country’s U.N. Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri began talking of his intent to use the tenure to push for reform, with an eye on a permanent berth for the Asian giant.
But the perennial issue of sanctions against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Iran and its nuclear ambitions are a more pressing — and complex — issue for India in its new role.
India, a key trading partner with Iran, has recently advocated an anti-sanctions stance, but under pressure from the U.S. voted for sanctions at the International Atomic Energy Association in 2006, and again at the U.N. General Assembly a couple of years later.
With the added responsibility of its new-found position as a global mediator, its position will come under greater scrutiny and further pressure from pro-sanctions states.
South Africa, which was also elected to the Council in New York on Tuesday, caused major headaches during its last two-year period with its reluctance to support sanctions.
If India sticks with its friendship with Iran, the two powerful emerging economies with the support of Brazil – which also has a close relationship with Tehran – could unite to seriously derail attempts from the U.S. and others to curb Ahmadinejad’s ambitions.
With fellow pro-reform country Germany also elected, and Brazil half-way through its temporary term, reform of the Council to expand permanent seats from the current five of the U.S., UK, France, China and Russia will certainly be a key issue.
But first, India will need to decide how best to wield its newly-acquired status.