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Ivanov says Russia will never harm Israel's security interests

RIA Novosti

25/10/2007 14:17 MOSCOW, October 25 (RIA Novosti) - Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov denied on Thursday that Moscow's actions in the Middle East are undermining Israeli security.

Israel's leadership has repeatedly raised concerns over Russian arms supplies to Iran and Syria, and nuclear cooperation with Iran, where Russians are building the country's first nuclear power plant.

When asked by journalists about the nuclear issue, Sergei Ivanov said: "Russia will never do anything to prejudice Israel's security."

Israel, along with Western countries, accuses Iran of pursuing a covert nuclear weapons program, despite Tehran's repeated denials.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with President Vladimir Putin last week, a day after the Russian leader returned from a summit of Caspian states in Iran. During the talks in the Kremlin, the prime minister urged Putin to support international sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

An Israeli media report on Wednesday cited Olmert as saying Putin had pledged not to supply nuclear fuel to the Bushehr power plant in southern Iran, but the prime minister's press office later said Olmert had been misquoted.

Ivanov, who oversees the military-industrial complex in his role as first deputy premier, said Russia will only supply nuclear fuel to Iran after financing issues relating to the Bushehr NPP have been resolved. The fuel can only be shipped six months after the station is built, he added.

The nuclear fuel will be "under the total control of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency," he said.

Sensors and surveillance cameras are being installed at facilities in Iran, which will monitor the nuclear fuel once it has been delivered. If the cameras "stop for even one second," this will be considered a violation, he added.



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