Strong American message to Russia: Stop nuclear cooperation with Iran
The United States demanded that Russia halt all nuclear cooperation with Iran, expressing "utmost concern" at Moscow's decision to expand ties with a state Washington has branded part of an "axis of evil."
US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham on Thursday reaffirmed the administration's strong concern about Russia's nuclear cooperation with Iran. "The expansion of Russian nuclear cooperation with Iran remains an issue of utmost concern to us," Abraham said at a news conference, wrapping up talks this week in Moscow.
According to Abraham, he was holding delicate talks sparked by Russia's announcement that it plans to build a second Iranian nuclear power and broaden economic ties with Tehran in other spheres.
"Iran is aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons as well as other weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles," Abraham told reporters, one day after holding closed-door talks with Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev. He added: "We consistently urge Russia to cease all nuclear cooperation with Iran, including its assistance to the reactor in Bushehr."
"No one should be under any impression that there is anything but the utmost concern on this question on our part and those concerns have been frankly and directly conveyed during our meetings."
Abraham and Undersecretary of State John Bolton, who handles arms control issues, met Wednesday with Rumyantsev.
Russian officials kept their silence over Abraham's tough message, although diplomatic sources said Moscow and Tehran had scheduled a round of consultations over non-proliferation issues for August 20-22.
Interfax news agency, citing unnamed diplomatic sources, reported that Russian officials would brief their Iranian counterparts about Abraham's and Bolton's visits in talks scheduled for Aug. 20-22. Additionally, Russia is inclined to inform Iran about "its new moves toward control over the export of goods and dual-purpose technologies," the agency quoted the sources as saying. (Albawaba.com)
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