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Russia's Nuclear Commitment to Iran

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    No country, including the US will force Russia to abandon its nuclear commitment to Iran Moscow Takes Tougher Stance On Iran Nuclear Issue By Claire Bigg
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 2, 2005
      No country, including the US will force Russia to abandon its nuclear
      commitment to Iran

      Moscow Takes Tougher Stance On Iran Nuclear Issue
      By Claire Bigg
      Wednesday, October 19 2005

      No country, including the United States, will force Russia to abandon
      its nuclear commitment to Iran, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
      declared yesterday. The uncompromising statement came one day after
      U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice failed to win Russian support
      for taking Iran before the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

      Moscow, 17 October 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Speaking on Russian television,
      Lavrov said Iran had the same right as other countries to develop what
      he called "peaceful nuclear energy" and reaffirmed Moscow's intention
      to continue helping Iran build a nuclear reactor near its gulf port
      city of Bushehr.

      "No one," Lavrov added, "including the United States, will challenge
      our right to continue building the atomic electricity station in Bushehr."

      Lavrov was merely reiterating Russia's position on Iran's disputed
      nuclear program, which the West fears could be aimed at producing
      nuclear weapons.

      But his tone struck many as unusually sharp, particularly against the
      backdrop of Rice's surprise visit to Moscow on 15 October.

      Rice flew to Moscow to press Russian President Vladimir Putin to back
      Washington's attempts to haul Iran before the UN Security Council if
      it refuses to return to diplomatic talks over its nuclear program.

      Putin, however, remained unswayed, saying the issue needed to be
      solved within the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

      Yevgenii Volk, the director of Moscow's Hermitage Foundation, said
      Lavrov's televised statements indicated a firmer Russian position.

      "No such tough comment [on Iran] has been made in the past," Volk
      said. "This is definitely a hardening of Russia's stance, a clear
      signal to the U.S. that there can be no agreement on this issue today
      and that Russia intends to continue its atomic cooperation with Iran.
      In my opinion, this is a very serious moment in [U.S.- Russia]
      bilateral relations."

      Volk said Iran's nuclear program has become the main bone of
      contention between the United States and Russia, and predicted this
      issue will seriously sour both countries' relations in the future.

      "The Russia-U.S. relations concerning the Iranian issue are not
      improving, they are, on the contrary, worsening," Volk said. "In the
      future, this will seriously complicate other problems that now exist
      in bilateral relations between Moscow and Washington."

      Some other analysts agree that Moscow looks set to continue resisting
      any Western efforts to refer the Iran nuclear crisis to the UN
      Security Council.

      Ruslan Pukhov, a defense analyst who heads the Center for Analysis of
      Strategies and Technologies in Moscow, said the protracted war in Iraq
      has weakened the United States in the eyes of Russia and emboldened
      Moscow to adopt a firmer tone on Iran.

      "Maybe Russia can afford to express its dissatisfaction and its
      disagreement in a tougher manner because it understands in what
      difficult situation the U.S. now finds itself regarding the war in
      Iraq," Pukhov said.

      Meanwhile, Russia today rejected a report published in the "Sunday
      Telegraph" on 16 October that former Russian military members helped
      Iran obtain ballistic-missile technology.

      The report, which does not cite the sources of that information,
      claims Russia acted as a mediator between Iran and North Korea
      according to a deal they clinched in 2003.




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