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India Says Nuclear Sale to Iran in Preliminary Stage

November 23, 1991

NEW DELHI, India (AP) _ Plans to sell a nuclear reactor to Iran may move ahead despite U.S. concerns the technology could be used for weapons production, a Foreign Ministry official said today.

Reginald Bartholomew, the U.S. undersecrtary of state for international security, met with Indian officials on Friday to discuss the sale proposal and other nuclear issues, said Western diplomatic official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

There are reports Iran is seeking to build nuclear weapons, but it is not known in the nation has the needed technology of the expertise.

The 10-megawatt reactor proposed for sale is capable of producing weapons- grade plutonium, according to reports published earlier this month.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Aftab Seth said Indian officials would ″take into account″ U.S. concerns about the reactor sale to Iran. He said the talks on the proposed reactor sale ″were still in the preliminary stage.″

India has repeatedly rejected a proposal by longtime rival Pakistan for a summit on nuclear non-proliferation. The proposed meeting would also include China, the Soviet Union and the United States.

India, which exploded a nuclear device in 1974 and is developing ballistic missiles, has also refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which requires international inspection of nuclear facilites and limits transfers of nuclear technology.

Pakistan has said it will sign the treaty if India agrees.

The Western official said more talks on the plan were likely to take place in Washington after Dec. 1, when India’s former ambassador to Pakistan, J.N. Dixit, takes over as foreign secretary.

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