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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia denies secret involvement in Iran's nuclear program

RIA Novosti

18:55 06/10/2009 CHELYABINSK, October 6 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow possesses no information to suggest that Russian scientists are secretly involved in the development of Iran's nuclear program, national security chief Nikolai Patrushev said on Tuesday.

The British media recently claimed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had handed Russian officials the names of Russian researchers that Tel Aviv believes are helping Iran develop nuclear weapons.

"I have heard of these reports...but I do not know who has supplied this information and why it was published," Patrushev said.

"Our intelligence services constantly receive information, and when they have it, they pass it on to our partners for analysis and confirmation. But we do not have any such information at this point. If we receive it, we will study it thoroughly," he said.

He added that Iran had the right to develop a nuclear program for civilian purposes, but said "there should not be any cases when something is being concealed."

"We are against Iran having a nuclear weapon," he added.

Russia has long stated that it opposes any effort by Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon, but Western experts suspect that cooperation by some Russian individuals and even companies with some aspects of Iran's nuclear program dates back at least a dozen years.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, Russia's scientific and technical elite have reportedly forged ties to Iran, which paid hard currency for aid in weapons and technical programs.

Western experts say the help could have extended to Tehran's nuclear efforts, but there was never any proof in those years of a Russian link to nuclear weapons development.

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