Russian-Iranian nuclear trade raises deep Western suspicion
Russia’s intent on signing a long-term nuclear cooperation deal with Iran is threatening to weigh down its relations with Western powers US and the EU. Both nations fear such collaboration could help Iran develop nuclear weapons, although Russia insists there is no such danger.
Just days after the Russian government approved a 10-year plan to build six nuclear reactors in Bushehr and Ahvaz, with capacity of 1,000 MW each, a high-level US delegation landed in Moscow in a bid to convey American concerns about such moves.
The latest Russian-Iranian scheme comes on top of an $800 million nuclear plant already under construction at Bushehr, on the Gulf coast. The resolution also outlines plans to expand conventional power stations, explore oil and gas fields, launch communications satellites and jointly build passenger aircraft. Russia's OAO Gazprom is already developing Iran's South Pars gas field alongside France and Malaysia.
In its efforts to terminate Moscow’s nuclear relationship with Tehran, US officials hinted that the White House have may be willing to overlook conventional weapon sales and the completion of the civilian power plant in Bushehr, Reuters reported.
An US administration adviser even suggested Western lenders waive Russia’s outstanding $42 billion debt, having recognized its prime motive in pursuing nuclear relations with Iran as a way of earning desperately-needed hard currency.
While the United States includes Iran in its "axis of evil," along with Iraq and North Korea, marking it a terrorist harboring state, the European Union has taken a different path in seeking to improve its relations with the Islamic Republic.
The EU is "determined to improve ties" with Iran, stated Javier Solana, the EU high representative for foreign and security policy during his visit to Tehran on Monday, July 29. Nonetheless, EU officials warn that such advances are hampered by Tehran’s acquisition of mass destruction weapons. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)