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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia offers US to join construction of NPS in Iran: minister

IRNA


 Moscow, May 30, Itar-Tass/ACSNA/IRNA -- Russia is offering the United 
States to pool efforts in building the Bushehr nuclear power plant in 
Iran, Alexander Rumyantsev, the Russian Minister of Nuclear Energy,   
told Itar-Tass in an exclusive interview.                             
    "We have suggested this to our American colleagues several times  
over during the discussions at the level of experts, but their only   
answer so far was that the matter should be thought over," the        
minister added.                                                       
    In Rumyantsev's opinion, there is "enough place for everybody" at 
Bushehr, since Iran wants to have a plant of six generating units,    
while Russia has signed only a one billion U.S. dollar-contract to    
build one unit.                                                       
    "The developed countries are not only able, but obliged to help   
the other countries that are honouring the regime of non-proliferation
and fulfilling all the recommendations of the International Atomic    
Energy Agency," the minister noted.                                   
    Russia and Iran are "violating nothing" in the work to put up the 
Bushehr plant, the minister noted. According to Rumyantsev, IAEA      
experts are carrying out verifications in Bushehr "practically every  
week", and not a single fact was found to prove the plant's unpeaceful
purpose.                                                              
    "We have been openly and frankly discussing this subject with the 
United States for almost ten years, but for some unknown reasons it   
has only been criticising us all this time," the minister added.      
    "We shall be able to say that the non-proliferation regime is     
being violated only when we have facts to prove it," Rumyantsev       
stressed, moving to wait for the June meeting of the Board of         
Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency.                  
    For its part, the United States intends to put off indefinitely   
the revision of its policy vis-a-vis Iran, an official of the U.S.    
administration told Reuters on condition of anonymity. He said the    
meeting of high-ranking U.S. presidential advisers on foreign policy  
and security, which was to decide this problem, did not take place on 
Thursday.                                                             
    According to the said official, this postponement was due to      
disagreements on the problem between the Defence Department and the   
Office of the U.S. Vice-President, on the one hand, which are adhering
to tougher positions, and the State Department and the White House    
National Security Council - on the other.                             
    The U.S. Defence Department is calling for large-scale secret     
operations to overthrow the ruling regime in Iran, regarding this as  
the only way to prevent Tehran from developing its nuclear weapons.   
    Reporting on this, the ABC television notes that such plans are   
not new, but they are regarded as a probable political decision, which
could be made as a result of the revision of the U.S. policy vis-a-vis
Iran, which is now under way in Washington.                           
    U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged in his Tuesday
statement to the Council on International Affairs in New York that    
such debates were now under way in the American capital.              
    However, U.S. President George Bush told the French televisions   
before leaving for his current international tour that one should not 
think he was engrossed in the Iranian problem.                        
/SF/AR                                                                
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