1. Nuclear Fuel Removed From Last Decommissioned Sub at Russian Northern Base
BBC Monitoring and Itar-Tass
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Murmansk, 14 October: The last decommissioned submarine at the Northern Fleet's Gremikha nuclear submarine base has been disarmed and had its nuclear fuel removed. In the next few days, as soon as the weather allows, it will be towed for scrapping at the Nerpa shipyard. ITAR-TASS learnt this today from Valeriy Panteleyev, the head of the SevRAO company that deals with nuclear and radiation safety issues on the Kola Peninsula.
Yesterday a delegation of French nuclear experts and officials from the [EU's] Tacis programme and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development visited Gremikha. The Western inspectors checked how experts from the navy and SevRAO were implementing their recommendations for improving the radiation situation at the Gremikha nuclear storage depot and noted the positive results of the work done.
Panteleyev said that France intends to invest several million dollars in the project as part of a global partnership programme. The exact figure will be named after intergovernmental talks with Russia are concluded.
1. Azerbaijan Establishes WMD Detection Command Post
Global Security Newswire
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Azerbaijan has established a WMD detection command post to catch any terrorists trying to transport weapons of mass destruction across the Caspian Sea, the Turan information agency reported today.
"Our task is to detect such ships and prevent such attempts. The border guard service has created mobile groups for coping with this task," said Farkhad Tagizade, border guard service deputy commander. He added that several suspicious ships had already been detained (Turan/Defense and Security, Oct. 14).
1. Rice Fails to Persuade Russia to Support U.N. Action on Iran
New York Times
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MOSCOW, Oct. 15 - Russia's leaders told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Saturday that they did not support sending the issue of Iran's nuclear program to the United Nations Security Council, and they reaffirmed their view that Iran had the legal right to enrich uranium.
The statements, by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and others, were a sharp setback for Ms. Rice's efforts to reach a consensus on Iran's nuclear program. The Iranians "have this right" to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Mr. Lavrov said at joint news conference with Ms. Rice, who flew here on short notice for consultations on Iran and other issues before heading to London. Ms. Rice spent two hours with Mr. Lavrov and another hour with President Vladimir V. Putin on Saturday morning but failed to budge them from their view, which is at odds with Washington's position.
Still, Ms. Rice, speaking to reporters later, made it clear that the United States and its European allies would still refer Iran to the Security Council, for admonishment or sanctions, if it did not shut down its nuclear fuel reprocessing program. But with Russia opposed, the prospects in the Council look bleak, as Russia holds a veto. "We do not agree that this matter should be sent to the Security Council," said Sergei Kislyak, the deputy foreign minister.
Iran says it needs to process nuclear fuel for civilian nuclear-power stations. But Washington and its European allies argue that Iran wants the fuel for nuclear weapons.
The board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, an arm of the United Nations, voted last month to refer the issue of Iran's nuclear program to the Security Council. Russia and 11 other nations abstained. But the board must vote again during a meeting that begins Nov. 24 to make the actual referral. Both Mr. Lavrov and Ms. Rice said they were hoping Iran would make concessions before then, making a referral unnecessary.
Ms. Rice said for the first time on Saturday that Washington might not push for a vote on a referral during the November meeting, suggesting that the United States may not have the votes it needs to win a second vote on the agency's board. Some members of the board who voted in favor of last month's resolution are rotating off the board. Among those rotating on in their place are Belarus, Cuba and Syria, three nations that are unlikely to support the American position.
Officials said the vote could also be postponed if Iran appeared to be moving toward compliance with the board's demands.
"There will be a referral," Ms. Rice said, but "we're going to keep the referral option alive at a time of our choosing."
Ms. Rice contended that the Russians had not rebuffed her because "they did say that the Iranians do not currently have the confidence of the international community." She also noted that the Russians had previously proposed to provide Iran with fuel for a civilian nuclear reactor and then to take back the spent materials. That, she said, demonstrates that Russia, too, has concerns about the Iranian program.
When asked about Mr. Lavrov's unambiguous statements of opposition to the United States and European position, she repeatedly referred back to those two points and would not acknowledge the disagreement. As she explained it, "the Russians prefer to have negotiations proceed in this period of time."
Mr. Kislyak agreed, to a point, saying "one has to work with Iran to find a solution." But he and Mr. Lavrov strongly suggested that negotiating with Iran within the atomic energy agency was about as far as Russia was willing to go.
Responding to a question about referring Iran to the Council, Mr. Lavrov said, "We think that the current situation commits us to develop this issue and to do everything possible within the means of" the atomic energy agency "without referring this issue to other organizations."
2. US funding boosts ex-Soviet scientists; Security concerns spur local projects
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WASHINGTON -- The US government is providing millions of dollars in grants to Boston-area universities, medical centers, and high-tech companies to help employ idle scientists in the former Soviet Union, including weapons specialists who might otherwise be enticed to sell their deadly expertise on the black market.
Dozens of scientists and state laboratories who have fallen on hard times since the collapse of the communist government are collaborating with researchers at universities including Harvard, Tufts, and MIT, as well as New England Medical Center and other area hospitals and technology companies, according to government documents.
The 36 projects underway in Massachusetts and in some former Soviet-bloc countries include efforts to develop new types of prosthetic limbs, survey the ecological damage to the Caspian and Black seas, and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in Uzbekistan, according to data compiled by the Globe.
But behind those pursuits is a far more serious fear that -- without the grants -- the scientists might be tempted by bribes or coerced by terrorists, according to national security analysts.
In the first poll of its kind, a recent US Department of Energy survey of more than 600 Russian physicists, chemists, and biologists found that about 20 percent say they would consider working for terrorist groups or so-called rogue states accused of sponsoring terrorism if they became desperate enough for work.
Since the mid- to late 1990s, the US government has granted more than 14,000 former Soviet scientists direct payments -- sometimes called "welfare science" -- simply to keep them from working for countries that support terrorism. But a more recent grant program is offering scientists meaningful work with some of the top American research institutions in hopes that they can bring some of their ideas to the commercial market, security analysts say.
"I think it is very beneficial because it allows them to grow and is a way for us to see some of their ideas," said Daniel Serfaty, the president and founder of Aptima Inc., in Woburn. Aptima has been collaborating with former weapons scientists at a company called Computer Sciences in Kiev, Ukraine, through a $200,000 Civilian Research and Development Foundation grant and $50,000 of the company's own money.
Aptima is working with the Ukrainians to develop business software, but other collaborations range from enhancing national security to protecting the environment.
For example, Harvard researchers are working with the Institute of Biophysics in Siberia to identify ways to rapidly detect chemical or biological weapons. Researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have teamed up with the Marine Hydrophysical Institute in Ukraine to study the ecosystem of the Black Sea.
The CRDF, which is funded by a combination of federal tax dollars, private donations, and contracts, is located in a nondescript office tower in Arlington, Va. The foundation was established by the US Congress and gets its federal funding through the National Science Foundation. It has an annual budget of roughly $21 million.
The CRDF hopes to fill a critical gap for the remains of the massive Soviet military and civilian research complex. Salaries for government scientists have plummeted in the former Soviet Union, where research funding has dropped by up to 75 percent since the end of the Cold War. Supporters of the program tell the story of a Ukranian weapons scientist who had been reduced to harvesting potatoes to feed his family.
Meanwhile, terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and states with links to terrorism, such as Iran, are willing to pay top dollar for the scientific expertise that could produce a weapon of mass destruction. It's unclear exactly how effective the program has been in keeping scientists away from such employers; no data exists on the subject. But given the destitute state of the former Soviet Union's scientific community, and the potential benefits of joint projects, some US researchers say the CRDF grants are money well spent.
"The entire Russian budget for science is less than the entire budget for some US institutions from the National Institutes of Health," said Dr. Gerald R. Pier, a researcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston who recently received a $64,000 grant with the Zelinskii Institute of Organic Chemistry in Moscow to study potential vaccines for bacterial infections. Most of the money will go to the Moscow institute, he said, because "they need it more than I do."
In Uzbekistan, where rampant intravenous drug use has dramatically increased the spread of HIV/AIDS, the government has little infrastructure to deal with public health problems. That's where Donald S. Shepard, a health economics professor at Brandeis University, hopes to help.
With a grant from CRDF, he recently hosted a workshop for Uzbek officials in Boston and joined with Azizbek Boltaev, a physician at the Bukhara Regional Addiction Clinic, to design a research study that would provide addicts with craving-reduction medication and create a needle exchange program.
The team is now awaiting word on their application to CRDF for a $100,000 grant. "Almost all would go to the Uzbek colleagues," Shepard said.
Some of the grants have rescued former Soviet research facilities set to close. Working with Tufts University and the New England Sinai Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Stoughton, the Albrecht Center for Occupational Expertise, Prosthetics, and Rehabilitation in St. Petersburg developed new prosthetics that more closely mimic the anatomy of human joints and feet.
"We were able to keep running our biomechanics laboratory, preserving our highly qualified staff, and expanding our equipment inventory," Dr. Konstantin Scherbina, the deputy director, said in an interview via e-mail from St. Petersburg. On Jan. 1, the laboratory will become the Department of Biomechanics, ''the only such scientific unit in Russia," he said.
Not all CRDF projects have borne fruit. The Aptima-Computer Sciences business software hasn't hit the market yet, despite several years of collaboration. "Until we resolve some issues of intellectual property, we have decided to put a hold on some additional investment," said Serfaty.
But there is little choice but to expand and improve the collaboration, according to Deborah Yarsike Ball, a national security analyst at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and a co-author of the recent energy department survey of Russian scientists.
"Science in Russia is still very much in a state of flux," she said in an interview. "And Russia is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Everything is a payoff. That's not conducive to the kind of culture we want that feels strongly about keeping their knowledge. The problem is not going to go away any time soon."
1. Russian defense minister denies nuclear transfer to Iran
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NEW DELHI--Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov denied Monday media reports that Russia had transferred nuclear technologies to Iran.
Speaking at a news conference in the Indian capital New Delhi, Ivanov dismissed allegations to the effect that had appeared in Britain's Sunday Telegraph as "complete nonsense."
He said some circles in the West had long criticized Russia for constructing the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant in Iran. But he said Russia had always honored its international commitments, primarily to the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.
2. Iranian official praises Russia for its "positive stance" on Tehran's nuclear program
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TEHRAN - The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman praised Russia for its "positive stance" on Tehran's nuclear program Sunday.
Commenting on Saturday's talks between U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and top Russian government officials, Hamid Reza Asefi said Russia had reiterated its commitment to having the Iranian nuclear issue settled within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and confirmed that Iran, as a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, had a legitimate right to pursue a peaceful nuclear program of its own.
Iran's nuclear program was the focus of Dr Rice's Moscow talks with her counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
Lavrov said the current situation allowed the IAEA to continue proactive work on the Iranian nuclear dossier. But Rice expressed doubt that Iran needed a nuclear program and said the issue would be referred to the UN Security Council unless it failed to be resolved through direct negotiations with Tehran.
3. Russians help Iran with missile threat to Europe
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Former members of the Russian military have been secretly helping Iran to acquire technology needed to produce missiles capable of striking European capitals.
The Russians are acting as go-betweens with North Korea as part of a multi-million pound deal they negotiated between Teheran and Pyongyang in 2003. It has enabled Teheran to receive regular clandestine shipments of top-secret missile technology, believed to be channeled through Russia.
Western intelligence officials believe that the technology will enable Iran to complete development of a missile with a range of 2,200 miles, capable of hitting much of Europe. It is designed to carry a 1.2-ton payload, sufficient for a basic nuclear device.
The revelation raises the stakes in the confrontation between Iran's Islamic regime and the West - led by the United States and European countries including Britain.
Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, clashed with Russian officials over Iran's nuclear programme during a visit to Moscow yesterday, saying that Teheran must fulfill its obligations under the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty.
She was later expected to urge President Vladimir Putin to back a referral of Iran to the United Nations Security Council.
A senior American official said Iran's programme was "sophisticated and getting larger and more accurate. They have had very much in mind the payload needed to carry a nuclear weapon.
"I think Putin knows what the Iranians are doing."
Iran is believed to be hiding its weapons development behind its nuclear power programme, for which it receives Russian support, and has refused to suspend uranium enrichment or to allow full UN inspections.
John Bolton, the US ambassador to the UN, told BBC2's Newsnight that Iran was "determined to get nuclear weapons deliverable on ballistic missiles it can then use to intimidate not only its own region but possibly to supply to terrorists".
Iran's longest-range missile is the Shahab 3, which, with an 800-mile range, could hit Israel. The North Korean deal will allow the Iranian missile to reach targets far into Europe - including Rome, Berlin, and much of France.
North Korea has developed a missile, the Taepo Dong 2, that could reach America's west coast, based on the submarine-launched Soviet SSN6. Modifications allow it to be fired from a land-based transporter and this technology is being smuggled to Teheran with Russian help.
Russians have provided production facilities, diagrams and operating instruction so the missile can be built in Iran. Liquid propellant has been shipped to Iran. Russian specialists have also been sent to Iran to help development of its Shahab 5 missile project, which the Iranians hope to have operational by the end of the decade.
MOSCOW - The Ministry of Natural Resources has drafted amendments to the law "On Subsoils" defining the criteria for strategic natural resource deposits, the ministry's press office said Monday.
Speaking at a meeting on natural resources management, Minister of Natural Resources Yuri Trutnev said the amendments formulated three criteria. Firstly, strategic deposits must include Russia's scarce natural resources, irrespective of the size of balance reserves. Therefore, deposits containing uranium, diamonds, especially pure quartz, and the yttria rare earth group, will be categorized as strategic subsoils.
The second criterion deals with the amount of natural reserves. Deposits with reserves of more than 150 million metric tons of oil, more than 1,000 billion cubic meters of natural gas, or more than 10 million metric tons of copper will be called strategic fields.
Thirdly, deposits located in territory used by the country's defense sector will be categorized as strategic, if their development affects national defense and security.
The inter-departmental commission on the study and development of the oil and natural gas potential of Russia's continental shelf plans to consider the participation of foreign investors in such projects.
1. Iran's Nuclear Ambitions Focus of Rice's Meetings in Moscow; Rice, Russian leaders also discuss Central Asia, "post-Gaza" Middle East
Washington File: U.S. Department of State
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Washington -- Iranï¿½s nuclear ambitions were at the forefront of Secretary of State Condoleezza Riceï¿½s agenda during talks in Moscow October 15 with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Rice said she came away from the talks believing that, despite Russiaï¿½s abstention in the September 24 vote by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that found Iran in violation of its nonproliferation obligations, Moscow was "very clear that they believed that this could still be resolved within the IAEA framework and that there was time for and a prospect for negotiations with the Iranians in order to do that."
"This is a diplomatic process," Rice said in remarks to reporters en route to London from Moscow. She added that, despite some divergence of views, "I am confident that we and the Russians do not want to see the Iranians with the capability to build a nuclear weapon."
"[T]he Russians and the Europeans and the IAEA are concerned...that Iran has lost the confidence of the international community because of past behavior...." she said.
NUCLEAR FUEL DISPOSAL
Rice elaborated further on this point in an interview with CNN after her arrival in London, when she was asked if there was any discussion with the Russians about the disposal of fuel generated by the Bushehr civil nuclear plant that the Russians are under contract to build for the Iranians.
The secretary responded by describing the "fuel take-back" arrangement in which material that otherwise might be used for weapons would instead be taken back to Russia, which she said would "seriously reduce the proliferation risk."
Russia continues to discuss with Iran how to pursue civil nuclear power in a way that would assure the international community such technology would not be used for weapons, Rice told reporters. While asserting that the United States prefers that Iran abandon its nuclear ambitions altogether, she acknowledged that she expected the Russians would "continue to pursue those ideas."
Currently the Iranians are not enriching and reprocessing uranium for potential weapons use, "which is extremely important," Rice told CNN. She added that the Iranians were now under "extreme pressure," and despite their threats to "walk away from everything" and "start enriching again ... none of that has happened."
The Iranians "seem to have reconsidered their options and have now declared that they want to go on a course of negotiation rather than on a course of confrontation." Rice said. "We are prepared to let that course proceed."
At the same time, however, the secretary told reporters "we have to prepare for the possibility that that course might not lead to fruitful negotiations," at which point "we have the option of referral to the [United Nations] Security Council."
The secretary looked ahead to the next meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors on November 24, which she called "very crucial" because "we will know by that time whether or not the Iranians are prepared to enter into negotiations that might lead to an acceptable outcome."
SECRETARY RICE: Hello. Eight down and one to go, or is it nine down and one to go? I've just completed very good discussions with Foreign Minister Lavrov and also with President Putin. The discussions really focused on three areas in some depth and then a fourth area. We talked about Central Asia. President Putin asked -- I talked to him about what I had seen in Central Asia, about the messages I delivered in Central Asia.
We talked about Iran. We talked about the time between now and the next Board of Governors meetings with the IAEA. And I want to be very clear. The Russians, when they abstained on the resolution, were very clear that they believed that this could still be resolved within the IAEA framework and that there was time for and a prospect for negotiations with the Iranians in order to do that.
The time between now and then is a time in which we, too, support efforts that the Russians might make, the Europeans might make and others might make to bring this to a negotiated solution, or at least to a fruitful path for negotiations so that it can be solved within the context of the IAEA. But as the French Foreign Minister and I noted yesterday, should it not be possible to do this through negotiations, the resolutions leave open the prospect of referral of Iran to the Security Council and that's the sequence.
Now, from our point of view, it has always been preferable to find a negotiated solution to the problem of the Iranian nuclear program. That's why we've supported the EU negotiations and we think there is plenty of room for Iran to accept a solution that would be acceptable to those who are concerned about Iranian activities in the past and what Iranian activities might lead to in the future. But so far, the Iranians have shown no interest in such solutions. We'll see if they do over the next several weeks.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, did the Russians, I mean, give any sense of what would trigger a change in their view about the Security Council and Iran? Did they say -- I mean, I was surprised to hear Lavrov say that the Iranians had a right to enrich as well. So is there no red line for them that would change their position?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, Barbara, I think that the question of rights that one might have under the NPT is really not the question that's on the table. We've long known that the NPT established the right to civil nuclear power. The NPT is silent on how one gets to civil nuclear power. But this is not a question of rights. What we and the Russians and the Europeans and the IAEA are concerned about is that Iran has lost the confidence of the international community because of past behavior that they can be trusted with the fuel cycle. Look, there's a reason that the Russians have structured Bushehr the way they've structured it. And so I think that it is, frankly, not an issue at this point in time whether somebody has the right to do something or not; this is a question of should they exercise their right.
QUESTION: If I can just follow. But did the Russians indicate to you a red line? I mean, is there something that would make them change their position? Is there any time frame? Do the Iranians have only a few weeks or is this an open-ended thing?
SECRETARY RICE: The Russians prefer to allow the negotiations and discussions with the Iranians to proceed in this period of time and they want them to proceed, I think, without implying that there is a specific time table. If you will remember, we've said that the question of referral is a question for diplomacy and that the real issue is are they making progress toward where the Iranians might (inaudible).
Now, let's review where we were. A couple of weeks ago, the Iranians were walking away from everything. They were going to start enriching again. Then they were going to walk out of the additional protocol. Maybe they were going to walk out of the NPT. You know, none of that has happened. So the Iranians, too, seem to have reconsidered their options and have now declared that they want to go on a course of negotiation rather than on a course of confrontation. We will see. But we are prepared to let that course proceed. At the same time, I think we have to prepare for the possibility that that course might not lead to fruitful negotiations, at which point, as the Foreign Minister and I (inaudible) yesterday in France, we have the option of referral to the Security Council.
But this is moving step by step. We moved another step last time at the IAEA Board of Governors when the resolution included not just a finding of noncompliance but also a specific reference to referral and a decision to defer that until diplomacy could run its course.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, did the Russians say how or if they would try to persuade the Iranians to come back to the negotiations in the interim before the next vote?
SECRETARY RICE: The Russians want the Iranians back at the table as quickly as possible because I do -- they are, I think, trying to persuade the Iranians to do exactly that. The Russians have on a number of occasions talked to the Iranians about how they might pursue civil nuclear power in a way that would be confidence building with the international community rather than continuing to add to the lack of confidence and concern that people have about the Iranian nuclear program. And I fully expect that the Russians are going to continue to pursue those ideas with the Iranians. We've talked to them about their ideas. We know what the Bushehr arrangements look like -- looks like. And you know, I'm very pleased that they're going to pursue some of these ideas with the Iranians.
But as we've said before, the issue here is not about rights; it's about rights and obligations. It's also -- and here the Russians said this to me -- the Iranians do not currently have the confidence of the international system in what they are doing. You heard Lavrov say there are questions that remain to be answered about what activities are going on in Iran. And while the Iranians don't have the confidence of the international system, I think it's a problem for people to countenance a full fuel cycle in Iran.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, did you come to any common understandings on what noncompliance would mean specifically -- the technicalities -- or -- and/or did you come to any agreement on if eventually you find the Iranians in noncompliance, what the Security Council might address?
SECRETARY RICE: Robin, the question of the technicalities of noncompliance did not come up. I had two hours with the Foreign Minister and a lot to discuss and so we didn't sit there and try to come to a discussion about, you know, a common understanding of noncompliance.
This is a diplomatic process and I am confident of several things. I am confident that we and the Russians do not want to see the Iranians with the capability to build a nuclear weapon.
Secondly, I am confident that we agree that there are significant concerns. We may have one view of those concerns, they may have another view of those concerns, but we share the view that there are significant concerns about what Iranian activities have been and continue to be.
Third, we have a common understanding that the world has the right to insist that the Iranians, if they pursued civil nuclear power, do it in a way that builds confidence in the international community and doesn't leave these unanswered questions and these capabilities in the hands of the Iranians.
And I would say look at what the Russians have done. When they structured Bushehr, which was their opportunity to structure how civil nuclear power would be acquired in Iran, they structured it with very strict measures, including a fuel take-back and no access to the technologies. That, to me, speaks volumes about what the Russians think the real issue is here. And I think they've been cooperative partners with the EU-3.
Now, we and the EU-3 -- the Russians abstained on the last resolution and so I'm not trying to push them beyond where -- in this discussion I'm not trying to push them beyond where they are on the record. But while we and the EU-3 and several others believe that the Security Council route had to be made real, which is the way I think that Mr. Douste-Blazy put it yesterday. There is no doubt in anybody's mind that it would be better if the Iranians were prepared to go to a negotiated solution that gave them access to civil nuclear power but did not give them access to the fuel cycle.
That's what this is all about. And we'll see if we can get there. If we can get there, all the better.
SECRETARY RICE: No, I think the Russians are doing what is -- look, the fact that the Russians abstained on this resolution sent a very important message to the Iranians: Don't take us for granted; negotiate seriously. Everybody understands that there are concerns about what the Iranians are doing. Everybody understands that those concerns have to be satisfied. And by the way, as I said, look at the way they structured Bushehr and I think you'll get a sense of what they want this outcome to be.
SECRETARY RICE: Our position at this point in time is let's give it time to see if we can get negotiations. The Russians haven't changed their position from where they were at the time of the vote. At the time of the vote, their position was, if you consider an abstention to be let's wait and see, then it was let's wait and see. The Iranians expected it to be no. So let's be very clear on who's got what hand here. The Iranians fully expected that they were going to get a no-vote protection, if you will, from the Russians, Chinese and maybe others. They didn't get that. What they got was from us, from the EU-3 and from others, all right, it's time to refer because you're not negotiating seriously, and what they got from others was let's give you another chance to negotiate seriously. But this was wait and see.
QUESTION: I know you don't like getting into time scales but you're freely indicating that next month's IAEA meeting is very crucial. Is that when you would expect Russia to make a decision by?
SECRETARY RICE: I think that next week's -- or next month's meeting is very crucial because every step in this Iranian program is important. But what I expect is that we will know by that time whether or not the Iranians are prepared to enter into negotiations that might lead to an acceptable outcome.
I want to remind you that the immediate Iranian reaction to the vote was we're leaving, we're not negotiating, we're walking out, we're throwing people out, we're getting out of the additional protocols. They had about five sudden blasts about all the things they were going to do. They haven't done any of them. Instead, they've said, well, we'd like to go back to the course of negotiations. All right, so let's see what happens if they go back to the course of negotiations.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, did you ask Foreign Minister Lavrov straight up to support referral to the Security Council if the negotiating process did not get off the ground by the 24th, and what did he say?
SECRETARY RICE: No. What we talked about was the time between now and then whether or not it was conceivable that the Iranians were going to sign on to a negotiating path that would make it unnecessary to have referral and what some of the elements of that negotiating path might look like. That we did talk about.
But I know that you want me to set red lines and time lines and on that date it's drop dead. I'm not going to do it. That's not how diplomacy works. We're making progress on this issue because the international community continues to tell the Iranians they've got to find a negotiated solution to this. Nobody has said to the Iranians that the negotiated solution that they have been suggesting is acceptable, and that includes the Russians.
And so the Iranians, who expected the IAEA Board of Governors meeting to go a particular way, when it didn't, their initial reaction was, well, we're walking away from all of this. Confronted with the possibility of isolation if they walked away from all of this, they've said they want to go back to the negotiating track. Let's give it a chance.
At the same time as, you know, as we said with the French yesterday, we're going to continue to keep the options, the prospects, the path to referral at any time that the -- at a time of our choosing -- let me put it that way -- at a time of our choosing to keep that path available.
And you know, this is, again, not a struggle between Iran and the United States. The Iranians have a problem with the entire international community in terms of their past behavior. They have a real problem with the EU-3 having walked out of negotiations with them. And I just refer to you again -- you heard the French Foreign Minister. So you know, this is not the United States and the Iranians; this is the Iranians and the rest of the world. The Iranians need to come to terms.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you say that the point is not whether they have the right to the fuel cycle or not, but in September in New York the speech of President Ahmadi-Nejad precisely reaffirmed Iranians' right to the fuel cycle and that speech which infuriated the EU-3 and U.S. So the fact that the Russia today says that they have these things, they have these rights, seems quite significant.
SECRETARY RICE: I see nothing significant about quoting the NPT. Nothing significant. What is significant is that the Russians have clearly never in their structuring of a deal allowed the Iranians to exercise that "right." What they've done instead is to structure a deal where the fuel cycle is outside of Iran.
Again, countries can have rights. They also have obligations. And they certainly, when they lose the confidence of the international system that they can exercise their "rights" safely, then the international system has a right to say that it would be a problem for them to have a fuel cycle or to continue. And that's where we are. That's why the EU-3 deal is structured the way it is. That's why Bushehr is structured the way that it is.
Maybe I'm -- you know, you're -- maybe we're missing something here, but focusing on the language of the NPT is not the issue. The issue is what does the international community believe can -- what course does the international community believe the Iranians can safely take on their road to civil nuclear power. That's the question. And given the past, I don't see anyone saying that that path should include the fuel cycle.
Now, the Iranians have but one thing to do, which, you know, we don't think they need civil nuclear power, so we have long said, you know, they've got plenty of energy, why are they going to do this. But the Iranians have one thing to do, which is to take a deal that would be acceptable to the EU-3 and to the Russians and to others. They've got an opportunity to do that now and we'll see if they're prepared to do it.
QUESTION: Sorry to take two questions, but is one of the ideas that the Russians are maybe taking to the Iranians to have some kind of facility outside of Iran built in Russia for a part of the enrichment process that would give more control over the fuel cycle?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I'm not going to get into what the Russians might tell the Iranians. The Russians can either tell the Iranians or they can tell you, if you can get them to tell you. But I would just say look at the way they've structured Bushehr.
QUESTION: I needed to ask you that but -- because Sergey Lavrov, as you heard today, said that the Russians believe that they have this right. So explain to us, because it sounds as if the U.S. and the Europeans are one side and the Russians are on the other. Are we missing something that Sergey Lavrov told you that he didn't say today?
SECRETARY RICE: The question is should they exercise that right. Should Iran exercise that right. Even if you believe they have a right, even if you believe they have a right, should they exercise that right. Because you didn't ask him that. Barbara asked him did they have a right.
Now, the way that they have structured Bushehr is so that the fuel cycle is not involved. And the question of confidence, the thing that the Russians have said and did say today and affirmed in all meetings, is that yes, Iran has a problem with the international system in terms of the international system's confidence in Iran being able to safely pursue civil nuclear power and the Iranians have to deal with that.
QUESTION: Did you discuss with the Russians or do you have your own opinions at this point about what they are most likely to do at the IAEA meeting if there is no change in the Iranian position before then?
SECRETARY RICE: As I said, the Russians want to allow the course here of negotiations to unfold and so we will see. We know that their vote -- what an abstention is is a wait and see. That's what an abstention is and that's how they voted. I believe that what they are doing is that they are using all their efforts to try to get the Iranians back into a negotiating posture that will be acceptable, that finds that's what they can do at this point and I hope that they can succeed. I think by the way, the EU-3 will try to do the same and I think others will try to do the same, too. It's quite obvious, if it doesn't work, then at a time of our choosing we're going to -- the Iranians are going to have to be referred to the Security Council.
QUESTION: I was going to add something about Iran but I won't. Could I just ask you a brief question about whether the Adamov case came up and was kind of reassuring? Could you address that?
SECRETARY RICE: We've raised this case on numerous occasions. Bill Burns has raised it very recently. I did not bring it up today.
SECRETARY RICE: The Russians explained what was going on there. I personally don't have enough independent information to judge one way or another, but they believe that the situation was coming under control. **Edited**
QUESTION: You've just come from meetings with President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov. When they came out and spoke to reporters, they indicated that they're clearly in no hurry to refer Iran to the UN Security Council. How much does that undermine U.S. efforts and EU efforts to turn up the heat on Iran?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, the Iranians are under plenty of heat. They faced a resolution a couple of weeks ago in the Board of Governors that I think was a surprise to the Iranians because the only ones who voted against the noncompliance finding and the possibility of referral was Venezuela. The Russians abstained, and an abstention is a wait and see. And the wait and see is can the Iranians use the next period of time to get back into negotiations with the international community that will come to a solution on Iran's civil nuclear ambitions that will give confidence to the international community.
QUESTION: So did you and the Russians discuss any ideas as to how if they're going to continue -- the Iranians -- with that civil nuclear program, they might dispose of that fuel?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, we are very aware of the fact that the Russians are having conversations. I'm not going to talk about the Russians' conversations with the Iranians. That's for the Russians to do. But we know how the Russians structured the Bushehr deal. The Bushehr civil nuclear plant that the Russians are under contract to build for the Iranians has what is called a fuel take-back provision, meaning that they will help the Iranians with the power generation that the fuel -- that the generator would give, but that the fuel would be taken back to Russia. That would seriously reduce the proliferation risk of having a civil nuclear power plant in Iran.
QUESTION: And did the Russians raise that with you today or did you raise it with them?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, we've talked about this on numerous occasions and we talked about it again today. But we have to remember that right now the problem for the Iranians is that they are not in compliance, they are not in good standing with the international community. There are multiple unanswered questions about why the Iranians were lying about their activities 18 years ago until the present of how certain things happened, of why the enrichment activities were discovered when they were unveiled by Iranian opposition, why none of that was reported to the IAEA. That's the question that's on the table.
4. Transcript of Remarks and Replies to Media Questions by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov Following Talks with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Moscow, October 15, 2005
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
(for personal use only)
Foreign Minister Lavrov: It was my great pleasure to welcome US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Moscow. We discussed specific issues related to the situation around the Iranian nuclear program. We have a common position that it is necessary to do everything to preserve the nonproliferation regime.
We also discussed the situation in the Middle East, in particular that around Lebanon and Syria. We agreed that we would be cooperating in the UN Security Council during the consideration of the reports of Detliv Mehlis and Terje Rod-Larsen, which must be submitted at the end of October.
We also briefly exchanged views on the situation in Central Asia in the context of the just-concluded visit of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to that region and agreed with the need to cooperate further in the interest of maintaining stability in, and assisting the development of the region's countries.
Question: What will the position of Russia be should the question of Iran's nuclear program be referred to the UN Security Council?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: We think the present situation allows us to continue to work actively on the Iranian nuclear dossier through the IAEA. Inspectors from the IAEA are in Iran on a permanent basis. They report to the IAEA Board of Governors on the progress they reach. With the present situation continuing, we do not see grounds for handing over this issue from the IAEA to other bodies.
I shall stress the necessity for Iran's further cooperation in good faith with the IAEA, as the questions that have arisen in the world community about the Iranian nuclear program must be clarified. And, as we have said more than once, under no circumstances should the nuclear nonproliferation regime be violated by Iran.
Question: Does Iran have a right to enrich uranium?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: Under the NPT Treaty and statutory IAEA documents, all the parties to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons have that right.
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