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Dec 22, 2006 at 01:35am IST

US lawmakers slam Bush's statement

Washington: Attacking US President George W Bush, senior Democratic lawmakers have described his statement as "outrageous" and "shameless" that he gave after signing the nuclear deal. Bush had said that he considered certain provisions in the new law on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal as mere "advisory".

Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, who was the author of the Harkin Amendment, which said it shall be the policy of the US to secure India's full and active participation in efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, sharply criticised the President for his clarification, seen in many quarters as an attempt by the White House to allay concerns and apprehensions of India.

"I find it outrageous that the President has repeatedly stated the greatest threat to US national security is a nuclear Iran, yet explicitly rejects Congress' declaration that it shall be the official policy of the US that India will not use its nuclear technology to help develop Iran's nuclear weapons arsenal," he said.

HITTING HARD: Bush had said that he considered certain provisions in the Indo-US nuclear deal as mere 'advisory'.

Harkin maintained that with his recent statement, issued after signing the deal, once again Bush has shown that he views Congress as a "nuisance rather than an equal branch of government under the Constitution".

"India has a proven robust relationship with Iran and as the international community moves forward to deal with, contain - and if necessary - sanction Iran for the continuation of its nuclear activities, we will need greater support from a regional partner like India," he added.

"Congress and the Administration agree it is imperative to our national security that we prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Yet the President shamelessly brushed aside concrete steps Congress approved to avert that exact scenario," he said.

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