1. Sanctions would not solve Iran nuclear problem - parliamentarian
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Economic sanctions against Iran would not force the country to abandon its nuclear research programs and could even prove counterproductive, a senior member of Russia's lower house of parliament said Wednesday.
"In my opinion, sanctions would have no influence on Iran," Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the State Duma's international affairs committee, said. "Iran is a strong country. It would be able to get round the sanctions."
Envoys from five permanent UN Security Council members (the United Kingdom, China, France, Russia, and the United States) and Germany held a meeting in London Monday and agreed to refer Iran's "nuclear file" to the Security Council, which has the power to impose economic sanctions.
The U.S. and some European countries have accused Iran of pursuing a secret nuclear weapons program, although the Islamic Republic insists it wants nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes.
Kosachev said the sanctions would not help the global community achieve its main objective, and suggested they could prompt Iran to step up its research and even build a nuclear bomb.
Imposing sanctions on Iran was also not in the economic interests of Russia, which is helping the country build a nuclear reactor in Bushehr, Kosachev said.
The sanctions could only be imposed with the consent of Russia, a permanent UN Security Council member, he noted.
Kosachev said Russia would not be the only country to suffer if sanctions were imposed. Germany's trade with Iran amounts to 6 billion euros, compared with the 2 billion-euro relationship between Russia and Iran, according to the Duma member.
The United States was the only country that would not be affected by the sanctions, he said. That was the reason why the U.S. was taking a harder line on Iran than were European governments, he said.
2. " We Must Learn To Coexist with a Nuclear Iran. Iran Is Successfully Advancing Toward Becoming a Regional Superpower and Then the Center of the Entire Islamic World"
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Interview with Dmitriy Suslov, deputy director of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, and Vladimir Sazhin, an expert from the Russian Academy of Sciences' Oriental Studies Institute:
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw announced that the permanent members of the Security Council and Germany have agreed that Iran's nuclear program must be examined by the Security Council. And Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar is saying confidently that his troops are not afraid of sanctions. His confidence is shared by the experts too. International sanctions will not be able to influence the Iranian leadership's policy. Iran's nuclear program, despite all the efforts, will inevitably culminate in wepaons development. On the eve of the IAEA committee session which is to lay down policy on the Iranian nuclear program Dmitriy Suslov, deputy director of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, and Vladimir Sazhin, an expert from the Russian Academy of Sciences' Oriental Studies Institute, talked about how events will develop in an interview with
() What will the Iranian leadership be aiming for when it decides how to develop its nuclear program?
(Suslov) In the most general terms the Iranian leadership's position is well known. It is striving to possess nuclear weapons for many reasons, related both to domestic and foreign policy: first, needless to say, for security considerations and, second, because it sees Iran as a regional superpower.
The Iranian leadership is now striving to prolong the talks with the international community to the maximum, embroiling it in a game so as to postpone a decision. Ultimately this should create the most favorable conditions possible for the development of nuclear weapons.
That is why Iran is now flirting with Russia. It has supposedly agreed to the Russian initiative to set up a joint venture and to enrich uranium on Russian rather than Iranian territory. In so doing Iran made its agreement conditional upon a number of extremely important provisos, which will enable the talks to go on for a minimum of several months. During this period Iran will continue the work, moving toward the development of nuclear weapons. Iran's diplomatic position will be that the country is not trying to possess nuclear weapons and it needs a civilian nuclear industry. At the same time Iran will make threats that, if sanctions are imposed and the Iranian dossier is referred to the Security Council, it will withdraw from the additional protocol on nuclear nonproliferation and will engage in uranium enrichment on an industrial scale. I would reiterate that throughout this period it will be clutching at every opportunity to enable it to postpone a real resolution of this problem.
() How might the matter be resolved in reality?
(Suslov) The problem is that there can be no solution today. Regrettably, the international community is powerless to do anything. It can, for its part, only delay the moment when Iran obtains nuclear weapons. The international community is incapable of preventing this. The United States' hands are tied. It is so deeply bogged down in Iraq and the Near East as a whole, the Bush administration is so discredited both at home and internationally that it is simply unwise to think about using force against Iran now.
Given the lamentable state in which the whole extended Near East region finds itself, the use of force against Iran will only aggravate the situation since the development and acquisition of nuclear weapons will be accelerated.
I am sure that Iran has the technological capabilities to achieve this. At the same time Iran will conduct a colossal campaign to destabilize the situation -- primarily in Iraq, but also elsewhere in the extended Near East.
Regrettably, it is impossible to do anything now. The long-term occupation of Iran, which alone would serve as a 100% guarantee against their obtaining nuclear weapons is not being considered. Precision strikes would only aggravate the situation. That is why Israeli intelligence and military circles have of late been flatly opposed to attempts to provoke conflict between Israel and Iran despite all Ahmadinezhad's statements. The possibility of precision strikes is not really being considered. The imposition of sanctions and the referral of the Iranian dossier to the Security Council will not resolve the problem either since sanctions will not be able to impede subsequent moves by Iran to enrich uranium. These moves will only exacerbate the domestic situation in Iran. I think that this is what Ahmadinezhad and the conservative forces within the Iranian elite, who thus want to rally all society around them, are trying to achieve.
The international community has no option. It must try, which is precisely what it is doing, to delay the time when Iran becomes a nuclear state. And at the same time we must learn to coexist with a nuclear Iran.
() What is holding back the Iranian leadership now, what is making it maneuver?
(Suslov) I think that severing all links with the international community and resorting to complete isolation was not entirely convenient. Not everyone in Iran wants this scenario to be realized. The Iranian elite is seriously split today. Only part of the Iranian elite led by Ahmadinezhad wants to follow the radical scenario to rally Iranian society around them, as I have already said. The other section of the elite, backed by people like Rafsanjani and former President Khatami, moderate clerics, are striving to improve Iran's relations with the international community, primarily with Europe. What is more I said that military action will only aggravate the situation but no one today would venture to rule it out once and for all.
It does nonetheless seem to me that even the Iranian conservatives have no interest in radicalizing the situation.
They may be somewhat afraid of a military conflict with the United States. God knows what would come of it.
() Should we expect a change in Iran's leadership or in their policy?
(Suslov) That will depend on how the international community behaves toward Iran. If it takes the most ineffective path, namely, refers the Iranian dossier to the Security Council and imposes some sanctions that play no real role and stops there, and in all probability that is what will happen, the conservatives' policy will be deemed a success and it will be hard to hope for a change in Iranian policy in the short term. If the international community walks the tightrope and pursues a more subtle policy, for instance, focuses on the Russian proposal, which seems to me the most sensible approach to the Iranian problem, the international community may, thus, help the moderate section of the Iranian elite oust the radicals.
(Gazeta.ru) You said that the radical section of the elite has a interest in dragging out a decision since time is needed to obtain a bomb.
(Suslov) Both sides want a bomb. The Iranian elite is united on the fact that they want a bomb.
The fact that as soon as Ahmadinezhad began quoting Khomeyni, calling for Israel to be wiped off the face of the earth and moved to Germany, and denying the Holocaust, part of the Iranian elite felt extremely unconfident and worried is another matter. There was a great deal of talk about transferring some foreign policy functions from the executive represented by the president and the government to the spiritual authorities represented by the Expediency Discernment Council and Khamene'i. As long as the outcome to this battle has not been decided since everyone is in their place, the radicals are evidently stronger but it is hard to tell how stable this situation is. We do not have a thorough knowledge of the details of the political process in Iran. As for a bomb, let me reiterate that both the radicals and the moderates are trying to obtain one.
A bomb is a powerful means of extending the life of the Iranian regime as a whole, without a bomb Iran will feel inferior to Israel and Pakistan, which both have bombs.
Yet Iran sees itself as superior to these countries, it sees itself as the sole superpower in the extended Near East and a bomb is extremely vital for it. In principle the nuclear nonproliferation regime is coming apart at the seams. The experience of Iraq, Yugoslavia, and North Korea at once shows that if a country possesses nuclear weapons it is unlikely to suffer attack or have its regime overthrown. Given this set of circumstances, the Iranian elite is consolidated around the idea of obtaining a bomb. How this will impact on relations with the outside world, how Iran will behave in principle -- as it does now or as it did under Khatami when there were also problems with the IAEA and Iran was developing its own nuclear program but this was not being done in such a provocative way as it is now -- is another matter.
It is in the interests of the international community for the Iranian situation to revert to the way it was under Khatami. But given the United States' problems, the possibility of preventing Iran's obtaining nuclear weapons is very slim.
During the upcoming session of the IAEA Board of Governors 2-3 February the Iranian dossier will not be referred to the Security Council. Russia has convinced people that obvious progress has been made on its agreement on joint reprocessing. Although this is in all probability the semblance of progress but both Russia and Iran have an interest in the Russian proposal forming the basis of the discussion. Which will delay the resolution of the problem for a while.
() What is your opinion on the stability of the Iranian regime and its ability to resist external and internal pressure?
(Sazhin) The regime is currently gaining momentum. Its policy was predetermined even before Ahmadinezhad won last summer's election. Iran is a very diverse state both ethnically and politically. Ahmadinezhad won by polling just over 36% of the eligible vote. Many people did not even turn out for the second round. He has negligible support among the voters but he has the backing of very powerful financial and military-political forces. In reality he is implementing their policy. Over the past 16 years under its two previous presidents Iran has gradually liberalized both economically and politically. The orthodox Khomeyni-ites were not happy with this situation. Ahmadinezhad's main task was to rally Iranians on the basis of the ideas of Khomeyni-ism. There are two linchpins to national unity -- anti-Israeli rhetoric and the nuclear program. Despite the liberalization of society prior to Ahmadinezhad the attitude to Israel in various strata of society was and remains negative. Unlike, strangely enough, the attitude to the United States. In polls conducted by sociological agencies in Iran a few years ago 70-75% of the population at the time backed the resumption of relations with the United States. With regard to Israel there was virtually consensus -- most of the population were opposed to this. This is a result of the constant mass anti-Israeli propaganda and the fact that denial of the possibility of the existence of the state of Israel is laid down in Khomeyni's doctrine. Ahmadinezhad chose the safe option. Over the past few months he has issued several simply offensive anti-Israeli statements. I am not talking about the fact that these were statements by the state's number two (in Iran the spiritual leader holds the number one job), these statements are offensive for anyone. But this rhetoric united the people.
The nuclear program is the main safe bet. It is something that everyone supports. With no distinction for political preference everyone reckons that Iran must be a nuclear state. This campaign is being mounted now. Both within the country and abroad.
() What might force the Iranian leadership to depart from a radical course?
(Sazhin) I was in Iran during the elections and spoke with people. In particular I asked whether they would turn out for a second round of elections when it was clear that Ahmadinezhad was being pushed into the presidency. Many people answered that they support liberal reforms but would vote for Ahmadinezhad. They intended to act in this way on the basis of the premise that the worse things are, the better. Let the Iranians and the entire world alike see what this leadership is like and where Orthodox Khomeini-ism is leading Iran. When it exhausts itself, then it will be clear to all Iranians that there is only one path -- the path of liberalization, of course under the green flag of Islam. Quite high-ranking Iranians also told me that it is possible that Ahmadinezhad will not complete his presidential term. Under the Constitution he can be replaced by the country's spiritual leader. Parliament can also express a vote of no confidence. There is also dissatisfaction with the regime in the highest political spheres. There is dissatisfaction, but nobody can speak out in favor of Israel because Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and leader of the Islamic revolution, said so. Ahmadinezhad is being criticized for his excessively tough rhetoric, but a softening of line by the regime should not be expected in the near future. Unlike the Iranians, I doubt that he will be removed from his post. He will continue to pursue his extremely Orthodox policy.
() How can the present crisis be resolved?
(Sazhin) If Iran finally agrees to a joint venture with Russia to enrich uranium on Russian territory, the tension would subside immediately. Iran occupies a very important position geopolitically, economically, and strategically alike. In all respects it is the center of the Near and Missile East. Nobody from outside -- not China, not Western Europe, nor especially Russia -- will interfere in Iran's internal affairs but will close their eyes to the processes taking place in that country if Iran agrees not to push its nuclear program as far as the development of a nuclear bomb. If this question is resolved, Iran and Ahmadinezhad can live in peace.
Of course the Iranian regime will be criticized in the United States and in Europe, but they will not to do anything radical. In many respects they are economically dependent on Iran.
() You said that the nuclear program is one of the focuses of national unity. What might force the country's leadership to halt it?
(Sazhin) Few people in Iran talk about a nuclear bomb -- in general they talk about a nuclear program, which also incorporates a civilian segment, which nobody is trying to prohibit Iran from having. There are many indirect indications that Iran is also seeking to carry out a military segment of the program. If it rejects the Russian proposal, it will be clear that something needs to be done with Iran. But there is practically nothing that can be done with it. There are no levers for bringing influence to bear. Iran is not de facto violating the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and is formally carrying out all its requirements. But the Treaty no longer corresponds to the current situation in the nuclear sphere. Iran is exploiting this. It is not that difficult to develop a nuclear bomb if you have a complete cycle for the enrichment of nuclear fuel. On a basis where uranium is being enriched to 4-5% for power stations it is possible to also obtain 95% enrichment. Russia is proposing that it assume responsibility for the enrichment stage. Even in economic terms this is beneficial to Iran since it is several times cheaper than producing it itself. But they are digging their heels in and saying that they want independence in nuclear production. They are not violating anything, but stage by stage they are building the infrastructure that will make it possible to develop nuclear weapons.
They need the infrastructure so that they can produce a nuclear bomb at any moment. Which will enable them to resort to nuclear blackmail and to seek new concessions using the threat to develop a bomb.
Today Germany, Japan, or Brazil could develop a bomb within a few months, but they will not do so. Iran wants to get to the same point. Maybe it would not do it, but it would definitely use it in future policy. They need the mirage of a bomb that they can develop on short notice.
Iran is being threatened with sanctions, but throughout the eight years of the war with Iraq they were subject to international sanctions and an embargo on arms supplies. And during those years around 25 countries supplied weapons, ammunition, and spares to Iran via various routes. Even Israel supplied warplane spares via third countries.
To talk about sanctions is a joke. China and the countries of Southeast Asia, including Japan, are very dependent on Iranian oil.
Iran has gotten used to living in the conditions of a blockade or semi-blockade. On the contrary, a blockade or sanctions will unite Iranians even more against the bulk of the world and, primarily, the United States.
() Might Iranians' benevolent attitude toward the United States break down?
(Sazhin) It is already breaking down. Propaganda is screaming that the Americans want to strangle Iran. Iran is seeking to become a regional superpower. And it is moving successfully toward this. It has a population of 70 million and among the biggest armed forces in the region -- 900,000 men. Plus missile weaponry. Developing a missile with a range of 1,000 or 2,000 km without a nuclear warhead is a nonsense. From the military viewpoint it is too expensive to use a missile to launch a mere fougasse. Iran is the fourth-biggest oil producer. All this makes Iran a very important state in the region. The new leadership is seeking to turn Iran into a regional superpower and then into the center of the entire Islamic world, despite the fact that they are Shi'ites and they do not have supporters among Sunni states. But Khomeini said that there is virtually no difference between Shi'ites and Sunnis.
3. "I WITNESSED A LOT OF BREAKTHROUGHS AND FALL BACKS IN MY TIME"
What the Papers Say
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An interview with Rose Gettemueller [sic], new Director of the Moscow Carnegie Center.
Rose Gettemueller, new Director of the Moscow Carnegie Center and former undersecretary of the Energy Department in Bill Clinton's Administration, is convinced that it is still possible for Russia to contribute to the solution of the Iranian nuclear problem. Gettemueller says that Moscow will learn to develop civilized relations with its neighbors yet and think in terms of at least decades to come.
Question: What is happening to the non-government organizations sponsored from across the border, does it remind you of political frost?
Rose Gettemueller: I've been visiting your country since 1976. I witnessed a lot of breakthroughs and fall backs. Yes, there are some men in Washington who say that dealings with Russia should be postponed now because all and any attempts to change anything here will be a waste of time. Even in Russia, there are some men who say that the Americans are extremely difficult to deal with... In the meantime, the reality is such that we need one another. Our countries share a lot of common problems: gas and oil, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, space exploration. Sure, we do not agree on everything and particularly on certain aspects of international affairs and on some other political issues, but I'm convinced that we should discuss this discord openly. Continuation of the dialogue is what counts and what is needed.
Question: Will the new law on non-government organizations affect the Moscow Carnegie Center. Do you expect any new difficulties generated by the amended legislation?
Rose Gettemueller: Being a research organization, we are not involved in politics. I think that we will adapt to the new situation. On the other hand, my previous experience teaches me that it is not the law as such but the way it is enforced that really matters.
Question: What do you think of Vladimir Putin's idea of turning Russia into an "energy world power"?
Rose Gettemueller: The oil and gas prices that are exceptionally high at this point are a very important factor for Russia but restricting national development to "the energy framework" alone will be a gross mistake. Russia has substantial potential. The matter concerns advanced technologies, space, technologies in the sphere of nuclear energy that I regard as one of the best worldwide... I do not want Russia perceiving its niche in the world as only that of an "energy world power". Your country should make more rational use of the energy export revenues. We all remember the oil boom of the 1970's, when the USSR was receiving considerable revenues while it lasted but plunged into an economic crisis when the market crashed. The same thing happened to some other oil exporters then. This experience taught certain Middle East countries the necessity of planning their future with more care. I hope that the "strategic" vision will prevail in Russia too, now.
Question: What about nuclear cooperation with Iran? Is that not an example of this strategic vision you are talking about. Your opinion of Moscow's idea to establish uranium-enrichment for the power plant in Bushier on the territory of Russia? It suggests some form of a joint venture involving Iranian specialists and Iranian investments.
Rose Gettemueller: I'd like to remind you that last August, the EU approached Tehran with the suggestion of supplying it with advanced technologies in the sphere of a peaceful atom on the basis of cooperation.
Question: You mean the offer of a reactor on light water?
Rose Gettemueller: Yes, had the Iranians decided to return to the nuclear research moratorium and put an end to research in this sphere resumed in the middle of January, I'm convinced that the EU would have also decided to share nuclear technologies with this country. As I see it, your country is in a position to facilitate restoration of the Iran-EU dialogue over the nuclear sphere and that in its turn will facilitate a mutually acceptable solution. A great deal depends on Moscow's firmness, on whether or not it succeeds in having Iran return to the moratorium as formulated by the Paris Accords between Tehran and Brussels. Also importantly, it does not even require that Russian diplomats "sit at the same table" with Western negotiators. They only need to share common objectives.
Question: What kind of objectives are they?
Rose Gettemueller: An end to research in the nuclear sphere, at this point. I hope that Russia is as interested in it as the West is.
Question: But this idea of a joint Russian-Iranian venture for uranium enrichment... is that not a means of providing the technologies and know-how that will eventually enable the Iranians to make a bomb?
Rose Gettemueller: I do not think that the Russian offer stipulates a transfer of uranium enrichment technologies i.e. technical documents and blueprints that will enable the Iranians to build a reactor. Information on technical aspects of the work of reactors is not transfer of technologies. In itself, the information on enrichment of uranium is not a secret. There are, however, some engineering problems involved...
Question: And yet, after years of working at an enterprise like that, will the Iranians learn how to do it all by themselves?
Rose Gettemueller: Sure, but if the Iranians pledge never to build the complete cycle facilities and if all uranium enrichment is always carried out beyond the territory of Iran, then we will have at least some guarantees that it will not end in manufacture of an Iranian bomb. As I see it, this is precisely what the Russian offer is about. The Kremlin is trying to minimize the possibility of the use of enriched uranium for military purposes.
Question: Judging by the words of the Russian foreign minister, acceptance of the Russian offer by Tehran will bring back the IAEA control.
Rose Gettemueller: Of course it will. Even more importantly, it will set a positive trend in the relations between Iran and other countries including the European Union and even the United States. Perhaps, Iran will concentrate on environmental protection then instead of on focusing on the ability to enrich uranium. Most countries with nuclear power plants do not possess enrichment capacities of their own. They buy nuclear fuel on the market. This practice will save Iran a great deal of money it may use to develop its gas and oil industries and other spheres of national economy. Moreover, this state of affairs will enable it to get advanced technologies from Russia and the EU alike.
Question: What is your opinion of what is happening in the post-Soviet zone nowadays? What is Russia's role and place there?
Rose Gettemueller: Russia is an important country in Eurasia. It is a country with its own interests in the post-Soviet zone. There is, however, a factor that cannot be neglected: namely that Russia has sovereign states along its perimeter now. Russia has to adapt to this new reality. I do not think that Russia is out to build another empire, and its disinclination to subsidize economic development of Ukraine proves it. That's one of the reasons that compel Moscow to demand a free market price for the gas now. In other words, Russia does not want to pay the price of preservation of the empire or honor the commitments the imperial status implies. On the other hand, we are certainly witnessing the so-called transition period when Russia sometimes acts in an exceptionally clumsy manner purely by inertia.
Question: What do you think of the Adamov Affair? Was America really determined to lay its hands on Adamov in order to get some nuclear industry secrets from him?
Rose Gettemueller: That's an odd story indeed. Since I do not know details, I decline to comment.
Original source: Profil, No 3, January, 2006, pp. 33 - 35.
The time remaining before the publication of the full report of IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei on Iran should be used to work out a plan of action to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem in the Russia-U.S.-European Union Troika- China format, head of the Moscow office of the Center for Defense Information, Ivan Safranchuk, said.
"Before entering hard diplomatic confrontation with Iran we should realize what we want to achieve. The time remaining before March 6 (when ElBaradei will submit his report) should be used not simply to find a common stance on Iran but to form a common plan seeking a solution to the Iranian nuclear problem," he told Interfax on Tuesday.
"A format of six-sided negotiations, not dissimilar to that used in negotiations on the North Korean nuclear problem has emerged over the past few weeks," Safranchuk said.
"It would be wrong not to use this mechanism in the future. The group of six should also hold talks with Iran at the same time that this mechanism is used to coordinate approaches ahead of the meeting of IAEA Board of Governors and its decision on whether or not to submit the Iranian nuclear dossier to the U.N. Security Council," Safranchuk said.
5. The Iranian Atom Is Dangerous to Russia - The U.S. Senate threatens sanctions against Teheran and Moscow
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The world powers were unsuccessful yesterday in coming to a single position on the Iranian atom yesterday in preparation for the February 2 session of the governance board of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. A meeting of the top foreign affairs officials of Russia, the United States, China, France Germany and Great Britain met in London, while British, French, German and Iranian diplomats met in Brussels. The meeting in Brussels was unsuccessful. Western diplomats were not offered any new proposals by Iran. The threat of international sanctions is now more real than ever. And Russia and China risk sanctions themselves for trying to prevent that.
On the even of yesterday's grand tour of world diplomacy, observers expressed cautious optimism, waiting eagerly for the “new Iranian plan” to emerge from this crisis prepared for the Brussels meeting. Interest was piqued by a leak from diplomatic sources that the Iranian plan would consist of six points, one of which would be Teheran's agreement to Moscow's plans, approved by the Eurotroika of France, Germany and Britain to create a joint enterprise in Russia to enrich uranium for Iranian atomic stations. It was also expected that Iran would agree to observe the Nuclear Nonproliferation Agreement and to uphold decisions of the IAEA.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who chaired the meeting in London, expressed optimism going into it, saying that the parties to the negotiations would convince Iran to maintain the moratorium on uranium enrichment and expressing hope that, in the course of the meeting, they would come to a single position that would clear up all questions for the Iranian nuclear program before the meeting of the IAEA governance board on Thursday.
High-placed Iranian officials made numerous conciliatory statements throughout the day yesterday. The sense of their statements was that the proposal to form a joint enterprise to enrich uranium in Russia would in principle provide a way out of the crisis, but it would have to be developed further, and there was not enough time to do so before the upcoming IAEA session. “On the one hand, we are interested in taking part in the enrichment of uranium for peaceful purposes. On the other hand, we will never relinquish our legal rights,” Gholam Hossein Elham, an official representative of the Iranian government, said yesterday in Teheran. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki asked directly for a delay at least until February 16, when negotiations on the establishment of a joint enterprise would be resumed. “We need time. Moscow's proposal to enrich uranium abroad may be a solution and we are now considering it,” Mottaki told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica yesterday.
After the meeting in Brussels, the results of which were announced yesterday evening, it became clear that Iran and the West were no closer to mutual understanding. The negotiations were a failure. “We didn't ear anything that we hadn't heard before,” British diplomat John Sawers stated bluntly, adding that the negotiations were over because there is nothing more to talk about. Only the head of the Iranian delegation, Deputy Secretary of the Iranian Supreme Council of National Security Javad Vaidi, remained calm, acting as though nothing had happened. He called the Brussels negotiations positive and stated that “We had a not bad chance to continue the discussion. Now we can open the way for further negotiations. That is the best choice.” When asked if he hoped to continue the negotiations, he replied, “Yes.”
The tactic of procrastination and drawing out discussion that Teheran has more and more openly engaged in recently is threatening to have far-reaching consequences not only for Iran, but for Russia and China, which are continuing to shield it. Washington is obviously in a hurry. The Senate International Affairs Committee already has a resolution prepared calling on the administration to impose sanctions on Iran and international companies that do business with it and to demand a prohibition of arms deliveries to it from Russia and China. “We have lost valuable time and have ignored the problem. No one wants avoid the use of force more than I do, but for that we must act now,” stated the author of the resolution, member of the Senate Committee on Intelligence and Armed Services Evan Bayh.
The sanctions would mean the cessation of deliveries of gasoline to Iran and of American dealings with countries whose companies invest in Iranian energy, a global ban on arms sales to Iran, the U.S.'s refusal to support the admittance of that country into the WTO, an appeal to the UN Security Council to limit official visits to Iran, cutting of diplomatic relations with Iran, and a prohibition on its participation in sporting events, including the Olympics. “An all-encompassing international ban on arms sales to Iran is needed, including sales by Russia and China,” reads the draft resolution, which also indicates that “the decision by the Russian government to sell the Iranian government arms for $1 billion, mainly 29 antiballistic missile systems, is regrettable and damages American-Russian relations.”
Military and Technical Cooperation of Iran with Russia and China
Since the 1950s, the USSR was one of the main arms suppliers for the Iranian Army. It built renovation facilities and other infrastructure there. In the 1980s, contacts were frozen, but renewed in 1989. In the first half of the 1990s, Iran was one of the main recipients of Russian arms (submarines, airplanes, helicopters, antiaircraft missiles, tanks, armored vehicles, ammunition). In addition, the Russian Federation sold Iran licenses to produce T-72S tanks and BMP-2 armored personnel carriers. In 1995, under U.S. pressure, military technical cooperation was discontinued (according to the journal Arms Export, the volume of deliveries was around $3 billion). After contacts were restored in 2001, there were few large deals. In 2002, 21 Mi-171 helicopters were supplied to Iran. Between 2002 and 2005, 12 Mi-171Sh helicopters were supplied; in 2003, 3 Su-25 attack planes were supplied; in 2005, 3 Mi-17B-5 helicopters were supplied. In December 2005, a contract was signed for the delivery of 29 Tor-M1 air defense systems at a price of more than $700 million. Russia also supplies spare parts and ammunition for equipment already sold and services it.
Iran's ties with China are of a similar nature. Besides, direct supplies of arms, the People's Republic of China provides Teheran with technology and production licenses. In the mid-1980s, Chinese airplanes and antisurface and antiaircraft missiles were supplied to Iran. Iran produces Haseb multiple artillery rocket systems, Safir-74 missiles and Boragh armored personnel carriers under Chinese license. Iran plans to complete development of short-range attack missiles with China's aid in 2006 with a range of 300 km. and an 800-kg. payload.
6. "Tehran's Last Resort. In Its G8 Presidency Year, Moscow Finds Itself at the Center of the Iran Saga"
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It is impossible to deduce from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that Iran has crossed a "red line." This was the assessment that Iranian diplomats were disseminating in Moscow last week. This was done in connection with the simultaneous visits to the Russian capital by two high-ranking figures from Tehran -- Deputy Foreign Minister Mehdi Safari and Higher National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani, the principal Iranian negotiator on the nuclear problem. The guests tried diligently to impress this argument on their Russian colleagues -- Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov and Rosatom head Sergey Kiriyenko.
The main result of the talks was an appeal by both sides to resolve the problem by diplomatic methods using IAEA mechanisms. The Iranians gave assurances that they "have a positive attitude" toward Russia's plan on the matter of uranium enrichment but at the same time wish to "improve" it at negotiations in February. In their words, third countries might also be invited into the project (China is currently being mentioned in Tehran).
A possible IAEA decision to pass the Iran dossier to the UN Security Council would trigger the start of industrial enrichment, Larijani threatened. In addition, Iran would pull out of the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Meanwhile the Iranians tried persistently to get Moscow's agreement to complete the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power station by the end of the current year.
From Moscow Larijani flew to Beijing. The Chinese leaders who received him spoke out against the threat of "arbitrary sanctions," a threat which they say is obstructing negotiations with Iran. In addition, PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan noted in connection with the conversations that have taken place that Moscow's proposal for the enrichment of Iranian uranium to take place on Russian territory is "a good attempt to find a way out of the impasse."
A few days ago and IAEA delegation headed by the Agency's deputy director, Olli Heinonen, head of the Nuclear Safety Department, arrived in Tehran. her task is to clarify matters from the recent past of the Iranian nuclear program, in particular to learn from the Iranians what they have acquired on the nuclear technology "black market." These are the last contacts before the next session of the IAEA Board of Governors, which is scheduled for 2 February. How this is to be conducted is the subject of a meeting this Monday in London between the heads of the foreign policy departments of the United States, the "European Three," Russia, and the PRC. These six countries are permanent members of the UN Security Council or the official nuclear club plus Germany.
Unlike Iranian politicians, the Western participants in the London meeting feel that Iran crossed a prohibited "red line" when it ended the moratorium on nuclear activities and that it now should be punished via the UN Security Council. As Gregory Schulte, US ambassador to the IAEA, said, the "research" that the Iranians have resumed is in fact a pilot uranium enrichment project. If the Iranians successfully enrich uranium in small, experimental quantities, it will not be hard to transition to large-scale industrial enrichment. And from there it is a short distance to the production of weapons-grade uranium.
Last Wednesday members of the European Three presented their partners with a draft IAEA Board of Governors resolution demanding that the Iran dossier be passed to the UN Security Council. Western diplomats in Vienna are saying that they have already won the support of at least 20 out of the 35 Board of Governors members.
But there are two participants in the debate whose support or lack of support is also highly significant. Russia and China are capable of blocking any decision at a later stage -- in the Security Council. Both countries favor compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and at the same time are opposed to sanctions against Iran. The statements made by Sergey Lavrov are indicative in this respect. He has stressed Russia's firm commitment to the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and at the same time has opposed "drastic actions" against Iran, recalling how unsuccessfully such haste impacted on the Iraq saga. And he made another point: From his own experience of work at the United Nations, the minister noted the high professional qualities of Iranian diplomats.
Will these high qualities now help Iranian diplomats and politicians, who are regularly alternating statements about their readiness for negotiations with threats to break off contacts with the IAEA? How serious is their interest in the "Russian project," and are we now talking about an attempt to gain time and enshrine their withdrawal from the moratorium on nuclear activities that had been in effect for more than two years? Judging by the Iranian visitors' restrained -- albeit formally positive -- remarks, they did not provide definitive answers to this question in Moscow.
At the same time the position of such influential members of the nuclear club as Russia and China will clearly have more of an impact on the course of the debates in Vienna than Tehran's more than tactical ploys. Their differences with the Western countries about specific current steps are obvious, but this does not cancel out their agreement that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and, correspondingly, Iran's evolution into a nuclear power cannot be allowed. So there are grounds for achieving a compromise.
Javier Solana, the EU high representative for foreign policy and security, for example, regards Moscow's proposals for a minimum of two UN Security Council sessions on the Iran problem as a compromise. As Solana told America's Newsweek magazine, Putin spelled out these proposals to FRG Government head Angela Merkel and then to other participants in the "six-way meetings." Their essence is that the UN Security Council could begin by conducting consultations on the Iranian nuclear program, but not in the context of "handing over the dossier," which requires the adoption of measures. This discussion should end with an appeal to Iran and the IAEA to engage in a more active search for a solution to the problem. Then the IAEA should submit its verdict on Iran's conduct at the Board of Governors session scheduled for 6 March. And only after that might the Security Council examine possible options for action. Another factor in favor of this plan is that the IAEA will only be able to prepare its full report on Iran by early March.
Moscow's arguments would seem to have triggered a reaction. But an even more sobering influence is being exerted by the fact that decision time is approaching. Because the situation on the world oil market is such that Western commodity exchanges switch on a red warning light whenever there is even general talk about "measures to punish" Iran. And what will happen when things move to the level of the adoption of actual decisions on sanctions and their implementation?
In the face of business nervousness, politicians in the countries in favor of passing the Iran dossier to the UN Security Council are in no hurry to be specific about the content of the punishment that they are contemplating for Iran. Thus, US President George Bush, in his speech last Monday, confined himself to saying that the West's argument "is with the authorities, not the people" of Iran. And now there are already assurances to be heard that restrictions will not be imposed on Iranians attending sports and cultural events. As many Western experts believe, the imposition of restrictions on Iranian oil exports is simply inconceivable as this would wreck all markets. Here Iran would have a chance to refocus on the market in China, which does not support sanctions. What then would be left as a possible target for sanctions -- the Bushehr power station, Iranian officials' passports?
Some Western experts feel that if measures to punish Iran were adopted they would be so constrained that they would amount principally to steps to isolate Tehran diplomatically. But the current week will show to a great extent whether events will develop in this direction.
Iran's nuclear file, which could be referred to the UN Security Council, shows that it is "striving with all its might" to obtain the bomb, a Russian newspaper writes. The author of its report cited a friend said to be "high-ranking" in military intelligence and with first-hand knowledge of the file's contents. And Tehran's evasive conduct is causing suspicion as to its motives. If UN sanctions are eventually imposed on Iran, the newspaper noted, Russia stands to lose lucrative trade deals. But it will most likely side with the West for fear of an unpredictable and nuclear Iran on its doorstep. The following is an excerpt from the report, published on 25 January and with subheadings inserted editorially:
Two weeks from now the Board of Governors of the IAEA - the influential International Atomic Energy Agency - is to hold an extraordinary session. It will discuss the row over Iran and its readiness to "break the seal" on its nuclear programme. And it looks as though, this time, matters may not be confined to readiness alone.
When he announced the resumption of the uranium enrichment programme, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad encountered sharp opposition practically throughout the world. The point was not just that the announcement followed close on some utterly gross comments wishing for Sharon's speedy death and threats to wipe Israel off the world map: there is nothing new about that kind of rhetoric. The strange part lies elsewhere. Opposition to Mr Ahmadinezhad emerged in the most pronounced fashion in Iran itself. The country's parliament (the Majlis) expressed its mistrust of the state's top person by rejecting candidates nominated by the president for the major ministerial posts. On top of that, the Council for the Expediency of Adopted Decisions (they have such a body, it turns out) has been allocated special powers by the Majlis - to monitor the president's actions.
The nuclear file
The reaction in the rest of the world was louder and harsher. There is now a move to hand Iran's "nuclear file" to the UN Security Council. Yet few people know what that file actually comprises.
A "nuclear file" consists of operational information uncovered by several countries (primarily the United States) on the potential for a given regime to create nuclear weapons. And on how close that regime has come to acquiring such weapons.
Tehran is categorically against the handover of its "nuclear file" to the UN Security Council. This only serves to intensify suspicions towards Iran. If there is nothing to hide, if Iran has not strayed one jot from the international agreements (particularly the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty), what does it have to fear?
In the resulting situation, Russia's suggestion was entirely apposite. If Tehran needed nuclear fuel to implement an energy programme, Russia would undertake the enrichment at its enterprises - under international control (the enrichment of nuclear fuel for power stations and that of nuclear material for bombs or warheads are clearly distinct technologies). But Tehran would not agree to that either, thus intensifying suspicions towards it even more.
A few days ago I was talking to a friend who holds quite a high-ranking position in Russia's military intelligence. He has a professional connection with some of the information in the Iranian "nuclear file," and he asserts that the information assembled in it leads to the unequivocal conclusion that Iran is striving with all its might to create a nuclear weapon.
The "file" does, of course, have a fundamental flaw. The bulk of it is compiled by American intelligence officers and experts. Events in Iraq, where - despite US assurances - no trace of WMD has ever been found, tend to prompt a fair dose of scepticism with regard to information gathered by the Americans. Yet the outcome is that Iraq, while still unstable within its own territory, no longer represents a threat either to its neighbours or to the rest of the world. [Passage omitted]
Mr Gholamreza Ansari, ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Russia, was invited onto Ekho Moskvy radio a few days ago. And, no matter how hard he tried, [presenter] Aleksey Venediktov, an experienced professional, could not get him to answer a single question. Venediktov even complained that this diplomatic shiftiness made him "numb."
Mr Ansari did let the cat out of the bag once or twice, however. For example, this was the envoy's reaction to a question about Iran's withdrawal from the nuclear test moratorium: no state in the world, he said, can stop its people from performing scientific research.
You bet it can! Whether it wants to or not is another matter - and Iran's current president, whose public utterances lead one to expect with a shudder that that gentleman will one day have a nuclear bomb - clearly does not.
Translated from diplomatic into ordinary language, what Mr Ansari said means that Iran considers itself free of international commitments. At the same time the ambassador considers the negotiating process by no means exhausted - including negotiations on Russia's offer to enrich the uranium on its territory - but sees the handover of the "file" to the UN Security Council as a hostile act towards Iran.
Why that act is hostile, the ambassador did not explain.
You can understand Mr Ansari, though: If the Security Council finds the "nuclear file" substantiated, major sanctions could be imposed on Iran. Iranian passenger aircraft would not be allowed into other countries, and the country's soccer team might not be admitted to the World Cup. But the main problem would be trade sanctions, which would threaten the Iranian economy with collapse.
It is true that Iran's two main trade partners - Russia and China - are actually Security Council members. The Russian Federation is supposed to receive at least a billion dollars for constructing a nuclear power station in Iran. There are other joint cooperation projects too, from oil and gas to the military and space fields. Although these projects face oblivion if international sanctions are imposed, however, Russia is hardly going to prefer an unpredictable Iran to Europe and the United States. [Passage omitted]
Original source: Moskovskiy Komsomolets, Moscow, January 25, 2006.
1. Prices for spent nuclear fuel storage should go up - official
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The body responsible for power generation at Russia's nuclear plants should pay more for the maintenance of spent nuclear fuel (SNF), Russia's top nuclear-power official said Wednesday.
Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of the Federal Agency for Nuclear Power, said that Rosenergoatom's payments for SNF storage should be increased, but that the amount it could pay was still in question.
"The main problem is that it is necessary to work out an understandable and open system of prices for SNF maintenance," Kiriyenko said, adding that it was important to reach world prices for the process.
Kiriyenko said his agency and the administration of the Krasnoyarsk Territory in Siberia had signed a one-year agreement that stipulated that a territorial plant in the city of Zheleznogorsk would spend 25% of its income from SNF maintenance on environmental and social programs in the region.
2. Russian nuclear generating body to be corporatized - official
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Rosenergoatom, the body responsible for power generation at Russia's nuclear plants, is to be transformed into a joint stock company within a year, the country's top nuclear-power official said Wednesday.
Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of the Federal Agency for Nuclear Power, said Rosenergoatom was to be corporatized during the year after the first steps this month.
The senior official, who has served as prime minister, said all the shares in the nuclear-power generating body would belong to the state after it was transformed into a joint stock company.
"I don't see any private owners in the company," he said.
3. "Rosatom Will Become Ministry of Atomic Energy for Gazprom's Sake"
Svetlana Borodina and Stepan Samsonov
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According to Gazeta.Ru's information, the Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom), of which Sergey Kiriyenko quite recently became head, replacing Aleksandr Rumyantsev, can expect further changes. As early as March the agency could regain its ministry status. Experts do not rule out the possibility that the transformations are in the interests of Gazprom.
The information that Rosatom could be transformed back from an agency into a ministry as early as March came to Gazeta.Ru from several sources simultaneously in various organizations subordinate to that department. This information was received from the organizations' leaders. According to our sources, the order on the change of status should be made public in the very near future.
Rosatom did not officially confirm to Gazeta.Ru the news of the changes. "I have not heard of such talk," Sergey Kiriyenko's press secretary, Sergey Novikov, said. "The question of the agency's change of status is within the sole competence of the president since Rosatom was created by presidential edict," he reminded us.
The Presidential Staff did not confirm to Gazeta.Ru that an edict is being prepared, either.
Sources in the industry say the agency staffers are awaiting the future change of label with great impatience.
"People inside the industry were greatly affected by the lowering of their status, particularly when Rosatom was made subordinate to the Ministry of Industry and Energy," a Gazeta.Ru source says.
"This talk subsided only recently, when the agency was removed from Khristenko's subordination and made directly subordinate to the prime minister."
Gazeta.Ru's source in the ministry also confirmed that in the present situation Rosatom has several problems with lawmaking activity (formally, after the agency's administrative reform, they do not have the right to engage in this). "But everyone realizes that the atomic industry is unique and views our legislative initiatives with understanding," the source remarked.
"The possibility cannot be ruled out that Kiriyenko has prepared a document justifying the need for this reform. Attempts have already been made to create a ministry of the defense industry," Aleksey Makarkin, deputy director of the Political Technologies Center, reminds us. He cites as the main aim of the transformations the raising of Kiriyenko's status "since the minister is already a member of government," the expert notes.
Gazeta.Ru's sources do not, however, rule out the possibility that with the agency's transformation into a ministry Rosatom can expect changes, primarily financial ones. The former agency could be sidelined from the construction of nuclear power stations, which will be transferred to outside contractors, primarily Gazprom.
Let us remind you that Sergey Kiriyenko recently said that over the next 25 years Russia may construct 40 new nuclear reactors at a total cost of $60 billion. He said that Rosatom is experiencing a shortage of the requisite financial resources, so the government is examining the possibility of involving Gazprom in the funding.
"In principle for Gazprom the nuclear industry is an associated industry, and an order of this kind could bring it definitive advantages," Nikolay Shingarev, a nuclear energy experts, remarks. "Perhaps the restructuring of Rosatom is in Gazprom's interests," Makarkin agrees. "The company is expanding very vigorously in the oil industry and in power engineering, including the atomic energy industry (take as an example the Atomstroyeksport company that belongs to the gas company's structures. It is logical that Gazprom is seeking to strengthen its positions in that industry."
"However, in accordance with Russian legislation nuclear installations and materials must be in federal ownership so their transfer to a commercial organization, Gazprom included, is impossible," Shingarev reminds us. "Although of course the law can be changed...."
4. Rosatom needs 30 Bln rubles to increase nuclear, radiation security in Russia
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The Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rostatom) counts on receiving 30 billion rubles from the federal budget to strengthen the nuclear and radiation security of the country in 2007 - 2013.
"This exceeds three-fold the budget of the federal target program on the nuclear and radiation security of Russia in 2001 - 2004," head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency's nuclear and radiation safety department Alexander Agapov said at a briefing in St.
Petersburg during the IX international youth conference titled Nuclear Future: Security, Economy and Law.
Budget allocations are aimed at modernizing the technological process in recycling nuclear fuel at the Mayak plant, improving the disposal of nuclear waste and building new and restoring existing storage facilities, he said.
The security level at Russian nuclear power plans and fuel and energy processing plants is currently in line with international standards, "which is demonstrated by expert evaluations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United States, Britain, France, Germany and other countries with which Russia cooperates on the issue of nuclear security and non-proliferation," Agapov said.
5. Tender to Solve the Mayak Problem - Rosatom Financing NGOs under new boss Kirienko
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A working group set up by order of new Rosatom head Sergei Kirienko to solve environmental problems at the Mayak Chemical Combine has started work in Chelyabinsk Region where the complex is located and the group held its first meeting on January 18th. The next one is slated for February 10th.
The working group includes representatives of Rosatom and NGOs Planet of Hopes, the Movement for Nuclear Safety, Green Cross, and Protection and Security.
Environmentalists and rights activists, who have long been critical of inaction by officials and the Mayak leadership, are now to be involved in solving the Mayak problem for the first time.
“We hope that this experience of working together will prove positive, and are determined to develop it and apply it not just at Mayak,” said working group chairman Igor Konyshev, an advisor to Kirienko, in a telephone interview with Bellona Web.
The working group's main task will be to hold a tender to find the best project to solve social and environmental problems associated with the plant.
Rosatom has allocated 250 million roubles to solve problems at the Techa reservoir chain, Movement for Nuclear Safety President Natalya Mironova told Bellona Web. “Kirienko has decided to spend 12 million of this sum on working together with NGOs to reduce social tensions and diagnose the biggest problem spots in the social sphere.”
The meeting divided the tender into six project areas: informational; socio-psychological and sociological; educational; legal; socio-medical, and nature conservation.
“We had a long discussion about who can take part in the tender, and decided that this could be any Russian NGO,” Planet of Hopes chairwoman Nadezhda Kutepova said. “We will welcome all partnership projects with other NGOs, as well as scientific research institutes.”
The tender will be announced in mid February, and the results made public sometime around mid May. The winning projects will be implemented from June 1st to December 31st.
Tasks of the Tender
At present, members of the working group do not have a common conception of the tasks to be solved by NGOs in the running.
“NGOs will try, among other things, to solve technical problems and, of course, the social problems that lie on the surface – information campaigns, social protection, and medical research,” Konyshev said.
However, Kutepova said that, at the first working group meeting, the environmentalists were told that technical aspects – including dosimetric control – would not be part of their remit.
“I insisted that anyone who wanted to should be allowed to measure background radiation levels,” she said. However, the nuclear industry says that NGOs do not have the specialist knowledge required to carry out such measuring.
Geographically, the project zone is limited to the Techa River basin in Chelyabinsk Region.
“As for the basic problem—stopping dumping—this wasn't mentioned,” Kutepova said. The Techa reservoir system, through which radioactive water from Mayak enters the river, remains under the control of Rosatom specialists.
At the same time, according to Konyshev, NGOs can suggest “strategic areas” for solving problems with the Techa reservoir system.
“We will be happy to hear any suggestion, as we currently have no solution to the Techa system problem,” he said.
For the moment, it is planned to use the money allocated by Rosatom to strengthen the dam and finish construction of the sewage system. Liquid radioactive waste will remain at Mayak, and only clean water will flow out through the sewer, Konyshev said. Construction of the sewerage system is planned to finish in 2008.
“But these are vague decisions aimed at minimising the damage from Mayak's current activity, and does not solve the problems that have accumulated since the end of the 1940s,” Konyshev said.
A Rosatom PR Exercise
Data on radiation accidents at Mayak, the largest of which occurred in 1957, were published 15 years ago.
“Since then, nothing has been done to solve these problems,” Mironova said. “The only thing [that has been done] is that enormous amounts of resources have been thrown at lobbying for the construction of the South Urals NPP, which would not only not improve the situation but actually exacerbate it.”
For this reason, working group members saw Kirienko's initiative as encouraging. Nevertheless, Mironova says that creation of the working group could just become “PR for Mayak carried out by NGOs.” Environmentalists are therefore determined to do everything to prevent this from happening, and to use the opportunity to put forward concrete proposals.
Similar fears were voiced by Yabloko Party politician and former Duma deputy Sergei Mitrokhin, who has for years been campaigning for the resettlement of all those living in the villages of Muslyumovo and Tatarskaya Karabolka on the Techa River. Mitrokhin said Kirienko's initiative is no more than political advertising.
“Kirienko is a politician, and is putting together his PR campaign right in front of environmental NGOs,” Mitrokhin told Bellona Web.
Resettlement Within the Village
Mitrokhin repeatedly discussed the Muslyumovo problem with former Rosatom head Alexander Rumyantsev, who promised to negotiate with the Ministry of Emergency Situations, which was responsible for the federal programme “Dealing with the Consequences of Radiation Accidents in the Period to 2010.” However, nothing ever came of the programme’s efforts.
After Kirienko's visit, the problem of rehabilitating Muslyumovo was once again addressed by Chelyabinsk authorities. On January 24th 2006, the Regional Minister for Radiation and Environmental Safety said that the inhabitants of two streets near the river would be resettled—to somewhere else in the village. Mitrokhin said such measures are an “imitation of action.”
“The only way to solve the problem is to resettle the inhabitants of Muslyumovo to somewhere else, because these polluted areas will continue to be a problem,” he told Bellona Web.
According to Mitrokhin, these half-measures are not only insufficient, but also dangerous. People already suffering from exposure to radiation will continue to suffer small doses of radiation in the future, which is extremely hazardous.
However, the Chelyabinsk Regional administration disagrees.
“There is no necessity to resettle the whole village,” the Ministry for Radiation and Environmental Safety press service told Bellona Web. “Mitrokhin is a politician, and his declarations are based on his political positions.”
One argument of the Regional administration is that Muslyumovo residents who get new accommodation in a different place will retain the right to their old home, and after some time will move back.
“People are very reluctant to move from the place they've lived all their lives,” the ministry's press service said.
But according to Mitrokhin, 1,500 Muslyumovo residents want to move out of the polluted zone. Mitrokhin gave this list to Kirienko in December 2005 along with a letter requesting support for the resettlement project.
Background Radiation within the Legal Limits
The ministry press service said that the background radiation level in Muslyumovo was normal, citing several studies that had been carried out since 1992.
“The Medical Inspection Service and the Medico-Biological Administration set these norms, which means they don't have to react to the radiation level,” Mironova said.
However, according to Mitrokhin, radioactive dumping is carried out regularly by Mayak. Inert gases are pumped into the air, “after which a cloud settles over a village and a small pandemic starts, the origins of which are hard to pin down.”
Muslyumovo residents are under continual medical monitoring, and according to Mitrokhin, “are participants in a large-scale medical experiment.” His opinion is shared by Mironova, who said that these people are “important biological material for studying people who live in extreme conditions.” According to Mironova, such medical experiments are another reason why the Regional administration does not want to resettle people.
6. Ukraine, Russia Sign Nuclear Fuel Contract for 2006
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Ukrainian national nuclear energy company Enerhoatom and Russian nuclear fuel producer TVEL on 25 January signed a contract on the supplies of fresh nuclear fuel for this year, determined its amounts, price, deadlines and terms.
The contract for 2006 envisages fuel supplies to all of 15 Ukrainian nuclear reactors and increases the share of improved fuel rods to 86 percent.
The first batch of fresh fuel will be supplies to the South Ukrainian nuclear power plant in February.
Commenting on the contract, Enerhoatom President Yuriy Nedashkovskyy said: "This is a very good compromise."
The price of fuel supplied by TVEL will increase insignificantly compared to last year, he said. Enerhoatom's rates could be raised by less than 0.1 kopeck (per 1 kW), Nedashkovskyy said. Enerhoatom's current rate is 8.01 kopecks per 1 kW without VAT.
The Enerhoatom director also recalled that on 22 January 2006 the company managed to agree with TVEL the formula to calculate the price of nuclear fuel until 2010.
The formula allows the supplier to set the price, taking into account changes on the world market, he said. However, the price of fresh nuclear fuel calculated according to the formula will be cheaper than the fuel supplied to Bulgaria or the Czech Republic, Nedashkovskyy said.
The Comptroller's Office is proposing to use stabilization fund money to finance construction of AES's (nuclear electric power stations). The department's representatives believe that there is no alternative way to develop power generation, and implementing the project will encourage industrial growth. In the opinion of experts, funds for the project must be sought from big companies.
According to Comptroller's Office auditor Mikhail Beskhmelnitsyn, there is no better way to employ the stabilization fund's money than to use it to modernize reactor units and to construct AES's. "On the one hand, this means the tiniest impact on inflation, while on the other it means the future resolution of tasks," Mikhail Beskhmelnitsyn believes.
An increase of the investment component in the Rosenergoatom concern's tariff can serve as another, smaller source of funding for AES construction. In Mikhail Beskhmelnitsyn's opinion, the investment component's share in the tariff is too low now: In 2005 it was equal to 26.3%, whereas in 2002 it was 38.6%. Loans can serve as another source of funding of new AES construction. The Comptroller's Office spokesman recalled that the Sberbank is prepared to loan money for the construction of AES's and "particularly for those facilities which are already at the construction stage." For this, however, the bank needs appropriate guarantees from the government and appropriate insurance policies, the auditor pointed out.
The Comptroller's Office is sure that "in Russia today there is no alternative to developing nuclear power generation." In 10-15 years' time it is necessary to increase generation of electricity in nuclear stations in Russia to 25%, for which purpose it is necessary to construct at least 40 nuclear reactor units, Mikhail Beskhmelnitsyn pointed out. In the auditor's opinion, the intensive development of nuclear power generation will have "the effect of a colossal boost to industry."
Independent experts do not trust the statements by Comptroller's Office representatives that investing stabilization fund money in the development of nuclear power generation will not lead to a steep rise in inflation. "The stabilization fund was created in order to reduce the risks of low oil prices and to rule out the possibility of high inflation. The use of stabilization fund money to resolve such large-scale projects may lead indirectly to an increase in inflation -- which runs counter to the aims of creating the fund. But, on the other hand, investment projects are better than just increasing social expenditure because they lead in the longer term to industrial growth," Anna Blank, an Economic Expert Group analyst, told.
"It is undesirable to use stabilization fund money in such a way. There are many projects in the country on which money can be spent, but there will, after all, not be enough for them all. The procedure for using the fund money must be enshrined in legislation. Otherwise this is voluntarism," Olga Belenkaya of the Finam Investment Company agreed.
In the economist's opinion, it is necessary to attract private investors' funds to construct AES's. "The project will certainly be of interest to Gazprom, since nuclear power generation is an allied sector for it. Participation in AES construction would enable the company to diversify its business. In addition, Gazprom would be able to reduce gas supplies to the domestic market and increase deliveries to foreign customers, thereby increasing its profits," Olga Belenkaya pointed out.
Gazprom itself declined to comment on this issue.
Specialists estimate that the overall amount needed to construct new AES's is $50-60 billion. "It's a very big project. The question is how efficiently these funds will be spent. Whether the officials will be able to manage competently the funds allocated to them," Anna Blank believes.
8. Siemens consolidates stake in Russia's Siloviye Mashiny
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One of the globe's leading electronics and engineering companies has consolidated its stake in Russia's biggest engineering company Siloviye Mashiny (Power Machines) to a blocking interest, a major shareholder in the latter said Monday.
The Interros holding, controlled by Russian tycoon Vladimir Potanin, said German electronics giant Siemens had bought a 20.61% stake in Siloviye Mashiny for $93 million, which meant the European firm, which has headquarters in both Berlin and Munich, had increased its stake in the Russian energy equipment producer to a blocking stake of 25% plus 1 share.
The sale comes as part of the Russian holding's investment strategy, which saw Interros sell 22.43% of its shares in Siloviye Mashiny to Russian electricity monopoly Unified Energy System (UES) in December 2005.
With the Siemens deal, Interros said it had completed the "implementation of its investment strategy to attract a large Russian company with state capital and a strategic foreign investor to Siloviye Mashiny".
Siloviye Mashiny is Russia's largest producer and supplier of equipment for hydraulic, thermal, gas and nuclear power plants, and electricity transmission and distribution.
Now Siemens and UES hold 25% plus 1 share in Siloviye Mashiny each. Interros has a 30.4% stake in the company while minority shareholders possess a total of more than 19.5% of the company's stock.
9. Russia: Duma To Set Rules for Private Investment in Strategic Industries
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The State Duma will consider a draft law, which defines rules for private investments in Russian strategic industries, during the spring session, Chairman of the Economic Policy, Enterprise and Tourism Committee Valery Draganov told Itar-Tass on Friday.
He said the draft would set the limits on investments in the strategic markets. All the developed nations have such rules, and "foreign companies are waiting for their adoption in Russia," he said.
The deputy welcomed an appropriate presence of foreign investors in space exploration, aviation, defense and energy machine building. He cited as a positive example the recent selling of one-fifth of the Power Machines Concern - one of Russia's leading producers of equipment for hydraulic, thermal, gas and nuclear power plants - to the German Siemens. "The Russian owner, Interros, increased the capitalization and investment potential of the Power Machines assets, and the Unified Energy System of Russia and Siemens got interested. As a result, Russian and German investors made beneficial offers," he said. The preliminary hearings on the bill are underway with the participation of business experts, Draganov said. He thinks that the first reading may be held in March.
10. "Linked by a Common Heritage. Sergey Kiriyenko Decides To Collect Up the Fragments of the Old Ministry of Medium Machine-Building"
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The turbine for a nuclear power station from Kharkiv, the reactor from St Petersburg, the nuclear fuel for that reactor from Novosibirsk or Elektrostal, outside Moscow, and the uranium for the fuel rods from the Zarechnoye (name as transliterated) deposit in Kazakhstan. Rosatom (Federal Atomic Energy Agency) boss Sergey Kiriyenko appealed to his colleagues at the Eurasian Economic Communuity summit yesterday to deepen cooperation in the sector and suggested working together to bring nuclear technologies and equipment to the world market.
These initiatives came as no surprise to anyone. Issues of cooperation in the nuclear energy sphere were discussed at the highest level on 11 January during Vladimir Putin's meeting with Viktor Yushchenko and on 12 January in the course of negotiations with Nursultan Nazarbayev in Astana. Right after that the Russian president instructed the Rosatom head to submit proposals for bilateral cooperation in the sphere of the peaceful use of atomic energy. The industry headquarters at 24/26 Bolshaya Ordynka took a creative approach to the instruction and broadened the discussion.
Sergey Kiriyenko gave the lead by saying that everything nuclear on the territory of Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan was once a single complex known as the Ministry of Medium Machine-Building. And that it should be restored. There is no need to rebuild from new, because we still have everything here, and the useful elements that our neighbors have retained can be utilized in cooperation. Nowadays no one any longer makes a secret of the fact that the former USSR's nuclear industry was established within the framework of the country's unified national economic complex and that many factors went into determining the enterprises' location and specialization. Uranium extraction went on mainly in the Central Asian republics that have large reserves of the raw material: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The sector's machine-building enterprises were mainly deployed in Ukraine, where the industrial base was developing rapidly: for example, Kharkiv's Turboatom, which produced the quiet turbine so much in demand among nuclear power station designers and builders.
In the initial phase of privatization (figures for November 2003) 50% plus one shares were reserved in state ownership, while the other half went to 80 legal entities and almost 16,000 individuals. It had been intended subsequently to put out a 25.22% package to tender. But in October 2005 Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada voted to add Turboatom to the list of facilities not liable to privatization. President Yushchenko disagreed with the decision and vetoed it.
The war over Turboatom's privatization has been going on for years -- and, it must be assumed, not just in Ukraine. But Russia can scarcely be suspected or accused of anything in that connection. It is not our task, Rosatom say, to be picking up pieces left lying around by our neighbors. It is a question of restoring cooperation destroyed by politicians' ill-considered actions. Moreover, of recreating cooperation in market conditions and to the mutual benefit of Kiev and Moscow. As well as of Astana, Bishkek, and Tashkent, of course. "We are prepared to look at any option that benefits both us and our partners," Sergey Kiriyenko said in an effort to remove suspicions in advance. "Mutual benefit is very important, because otherwise cooperation will not be stable."
The head of Russia's atomic department added one further, I would say, mobilizing emphasis when he suggested to his Eurasian Economic Community and CIS colleagues that we can only broaden our presence in the world nuclear technologies market by working together and using our potential to reinforce our partners' positions. The signal character of such bold statements, made on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the tragic events at the Chernobyl nuclear power station, cannot be ignored. It is not the dust of Chernobyl but the ashes of a once-mighty nuclear empire that beats in the heart of Sergey Kiriyenko, current boss of Rosatom and the 12th person, counting from the department's creation, to be master of the big building on Bolshaya Ordynka.
Not for nothing is the secret superdepartment called a state within a state. For getting on for half a century it has existing under special laws, developing the two roles of nuclear fission -- as a source of creative energy and as a weapon of monstrous destructive power. The politicians assure us that military concerns have now lost their former acuteness and been downgraded to second priority, whereas opportunities for the peaceful utilization of the atom and of nuclear technologies are attracting increasing attention. Especially now that the energy dialogue has gotten sharper, and Russia is chairing the G8. We hold some useful cards, as the saying goes.
The Russian-Kyrgyzstani-Kazakhstani Zarechnoye joint venture is meant to begin producing by the end of spring this year. It was set up to exploit a uranium deposit in South Kazakhstan Region. The plan is to reach the design capacity of up to a thousand tonnes or uranium a year in 2010. The joint venture will supply yellow cake to the Kara-Balta mining and enriching combine (Kyrgyzstan). The full amount of the uranium concentrate obtained from it will go to Russia.
The project to develop the deposit, taking into account construction of the appropriate infrastructure, will cost a total of $55 million to implement. The money will be allocated in equal proportions by two owners of the venture -- Kazatomprom and Tekhsnabeksport OAO (Open Joint-Stock Company) -- which each hold 49% of the stock in the enterprise.
In addition, Atompredmetzoloto OAO and Kara-Baltinskiy Gornorudnyy Kombinat OAO each have a 1% stake. Previously Kazatomprom owned 45% of the joint enterprise, TVEL OAO owned 20%, Tekhsnabeksport held 15%, and Atompredmetzoloto OAO and Kara-Baltinskiy Gornorudnyy Kombinat OAO had 10% each.
The combination of owners and shareholdings in the joint venture changed after TVEL sold its holding to Tekhsnabeksport in February 2005. In addition, in June this (as published) year the Zarechnoye enterprise made an additional share issue totaling $5 million, which was bought by Kazatomprom and Tekhsnabeksport. The Zarechnoye deposit's reserves are estimated at 19,000 tonnes of uranium.
1. Russian Navy To Have Four Types of Submarines, Buy UK Rescue Equipment
(for personal use only)
Four types of submarines will form the core of the Russian navy's submarine fleet, Navy Commander-in-Chief Adm Vladimir Masorin told journalists here today before the beginning of a scientific conference devoted to the 100th anniversary of the Russian submarine fleet.
"The Borey complex will be the main element of the strategic submarine fleet. A shipyard in Severodvinsk has already started to build a multi-mission nuclear submarine equipped with cruise missiles. Tests of a diesel-electric submarine are being completed and the construction of another nuclear submarine will begin soon," he said.
The diesel-electric submarine St Petersburg, Project 677 Lada, is due to join the navy in 2006, Masorin said. The final test stages of the submarine will be held in the Baltic Sea after the Gulf of Finland is cleared of ice this spring, he said.
The Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk is due to begin building the strategic nuclear submarine Vladimir Monomakh as part of the Borey project on 19 March, the commander said. The shipyard is currently building the Yuriy Dolgorukiy and Aleksandr Nevskiy submarines of the same class.
(In a separate report at 0634 gmt 31 Jan 06 Russian news agency Interfax quoted Masorin as saying that Russia will buy a Panther air sea-rescue complex from the UK. "I do not see anything bad in buying foreign equipment. We must have the best equipment in the world," Masorin said.
He added that Russian sea rescuers are undergoing intensive training and technical upgrade of the bathyscaphs of the AS-28 class has been launched following the incident off the Kamchatka coast on 4 August 2005. "After deep modernization only the hulls will remain the same. All stuffing will be new. The minisubs will stay manned, we need them," Masorin said.
He added that the Igor Belousov rescue ship was launched in December 2005 and was due to join the navy by 2009. "We hope to build two ships of this type for the Northern and Pacific fleets, or maybe four - for all fleets of the Russian navy. "In a year or two the Russian submarine rescue service will reach the world standard," he said.)
(In a report at 0627 gmt 31 Jan 06 Interfax said that Masorin would conduct a mobilization exercise with senior commanding officers at the Kuznetsov Naval Academy in St Petersburg on 31 January.
"The priority consists in maintaining combat and mobilization readiness, tackling a whole range of tasks aimed at reforming fleets, the navy, and the armed forces as a whole, for instance, establishing an experimental Vostok regional command, based on the Pacific Fleet and the Far Eastern Military District," Masorin said in his address to the participants of the exercise.
In addition to that, the Russian navy command will determine the navy and the armed forces development prospects by working out the state arms programme for 2007-15, and navy development plans for 2006-11, he said.
Commenting on the results of 2005, Masorin emphasized the importance of missions conducted in the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Indian Oceans.
"However, the deeds and the tremendous work have been diminished by negligence of certain commanding officers, which on some occasions equalled ignorance and even cowardice," Masorin said, noting the death of six cadets from the St Petersburg Naval Institute, an explosion of the Neukrotimyy patrol boat in the Neva River during the Navy Day celebrations in August, the incident involving the AS-28 bathyscaph of the Pacific Fleet, and the seizure of the Yalta lighthouse in service with the Black Sea Fleet.)
2. Strategic Missile Forces determine missiles to replace Topol-M
(for personal use only)
The Strategic Missile Forces are working out requirements to be met by next-generation ICBMs, Strategic Missile Forces Commander Nikolai Solovtsov has said.
"Design bureaus and industrial enterprises have come forward with proposals on future missile systems for the Strategic Missile Forces.
The Military Scientific Committee of the Strategic Missile Forces has discussed the proposals and determined the design of a future missile system to replace the Topol-M," Solovtsov said in an interview with the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper, published on Tuesday.
According to him, at the present time the approach chosen is being investigated in every detail.
"At the same time, we need a deep scientific analysis to examine various proposals and select the best one. However, this step is not aimed at beefing up the Strategic Missile Forces," he said.
According to him, the priority is to maintain combat capabilities of the Strategic Missile Forces at the level, determined by the president and the government.
"Existing arms should only be replaced with new ones when their service lives can no longer be extended, but the most important thing consists in providing security to Russia with the help of a considerably reduced force. Thus, the main workstreams in upgrading existing weapon systems are improving combat characteristics, operational and environmental safety, employing resource-saving and efficient technologies," Solovtsov said.
According to him, the Strategic Missile Forces are streamlined within the framework of the Strategic Offensive Reductions (SOR) Treaty.
"The U.S. and the Soviet Union used to have about 11,000 ICBMs (strategic nuclear forces), now they operate about 6,000 missile each.
Under the SOR Treaty, signed by Russia and the U.S. in 2002, both parties have undertaken a commitment to reduce this figure down to 1,700-2,000 by 2012 (strategic nuclear forces). At the present time just the Strategic Missile Forces alone operate about 3,000 missiles," he said.
3. Next-generation radars to be deployed in Russia soon - Ivanov
(for personal use only)
Russia will soon begin deploying next-generation radars on its territory, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told journalists in Moscow on Friday.
"Building new stations is an increasingly important issue of national security. We are simply 'blind' without modern radars," he said.
"Our strategy would not be worth a penny, if we did not plan to deploy new radars on our territory," the minister said.
"Technologies are becoming more sophisticated. So are radars. We have been involved in both scientific, applied and construction projects. I believe that we will be able to demonstrate some of our new developments soon," Ivanov said.
"Whereas large radars were built previously, modern technologies allow us to make such projects less costly," he said.
Russian Space Forces Commander Vladimir Popovkin earlier said that tests of a new early-warning radar started in the northwest of the country in December.
The first station was built in St. Petersburg and deployed in Northwestern Russia, Popovkin noted. The tests will show whether the new radar is able to replace the Daryal and Dnepr-type radar systems, he said.
The new radars are different from Dnepr and Daryal-type systems, which form the core of over-the-horizon segment of the missile attack warning network, in having a short deployment period, advanced reliability and independence of operation. New-generation radars make it possible to reduce maintenance and operation expenses by 40 percent. The technology is also peculiar for short terms and low expenses on construction. These radars are more compact and require smaller capital investments in deployment.
The new technology makes it possible to design radars with the specifications adapted for accomplishing specific missions. In particular, missile attack warning radars capable of detecting warhears of intercontinental ballistic missiles, operational and tactical missiles at the same time may be designed. This will make it possible to use radar information in the interests of both missile defense and air defense.
Such radars may be used efficiently not only by the Defense Ministry, but also in development of various international collective security systems.
The Space Forces command believes that the use of new radars in missile attack warning systems will boost the efficiency of missile launches detection and missile attack warning, make maintenance of some military formations abroad no longer necessary, and reduce maintenance costs and personnel number.
1. Lugar Urges Rumsfeld to Request Lifting Restrictions on CTR Programs
Inside the Pentagon
(for personal use only)
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-IN) is urging Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to include language in the Pentagon's string of fiscal year 2007 legislative proposals that would eliminate all certification requirements for Cooperative Threat Reduction programs in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere.
In a letter to Rumsfeld, dated Dec. 27, 2005, and obtained by Inside the Pentagon this week, Lugar takes another shot in a string of recent attempts to modify existing law affecting the program, which prescribes detailed presidential certification for CTR projects in Russia and other countries of the former Eastern Bloc.
"The annual certification and waiver process wastes money and valuable time - time and resources lost in the fight against proliferation," Lugar wrote in the letter to Rumsfeld. "It is imperative that you continue to express your support for the elimination of the certification requirements as well as for the transfer of authority for operations outside the former Soviet Union."
The Defense Department proposes legislative language each year deemed necessary to carry out its mission. The proposals, which the Pentagon would like inserted in the upcoming House and Senate defense authorization bills, are usually unveiled after the presidential budget request is made public. For FY-07, the budget request is set for release on Feb. 6.
The Pentagon-run CTR program, created in 1991 by Lugar and then-Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA), provides funds to eliminate and safeguard stockpiles of nuclear material and weapons delivery systems in the former Soviet Union. After the breakdown of the communist regime in Moscow, states it used to control have sought international assistance to collect and secure the vast arsenal of weapons of mass destruction they inherited from the former superpower.
Western nations - including the United States - are concerned that the material may fall into the hands of terrorists or hostile nations.
The FY-06 Defense Authorization Act contains a provision that grants President Bush authority each year to waive the required annual certification for work on CTR programs in the former Soviet states. The certification requirement was put in place with the original Nunn-Lugar legislation.
The legislation says that countries are ineligible to receive CTR funds unless they show that they comply with international arms control treaties, observe internationally recognized human rights, make "substantial" investment in the destruction of nuclear weapons and forgo any military modernization programs that "exceed legitimate defense requirements."
In the FY-03 Defense Authorization Act, Congress enacted waiver authority allowing the president to eliminate the original restrictions if the White House considers such a move vital to national security interests. But to exercise the waiver, the president also had to submit comprehensive justification to lawmakers.
The FY-03 waiver authority expired Sept. 30 of last year, but the FY-06 defense legislation made that waiver option permanent.
Last July, the Senate approved by a 78-19 vote a Lugar-sponsored amendment to the defense authorization bill to eliminate all conditions on the CTR program. However, the measure was not included in the final piece of legislation signed by President Bush.
Late last year, a Lugar spokesman called the permanent waiver option "a good step," even though it does not go as far as most senators wanted in last summer's vote.
"The certification and waiver processes consume hundreds of man-hours of work by the State Department, the intelligence community, the Pentagon, as well as other departments and agencies," Lugar said in a July 21 floor speech.
"This time could be better spent tackling the proliferation threats facing our country," he added. "Instead of interdicting WMD shipments, identifying the next A.Q. Khan, or locating hidden stocks of chemical and biological weapons, our nonproliferation experts spend their time compiling reports and assembling certification or waiver determinations."
1. Norway To Fund Disposal Of Russian Nuclear Submarine
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Norway has preliminarily agreed to fund the disposal of the K-60, a Russian first-generation nuclear submarine, Norwegian environmental group Bellona said, citing a spokesman for the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment.
However, disputes between Norway's Foreign Ministry, which distributes such funds, and the country's Defense Ministry, which is in charge of the Arctic Military Environment Cooperation program (AMEC) are causing problems, Bellona told Interfax.
The disposal of the submarine, NATO classification November class, is part of AMEC. Bellona said the disputes between the two ministries posed the threat that AMEC might fail to meet its deadline.
Norway is looking for funds to transport the sub from Gremikha to the Polyarnoye shipyard, where it will be destroyed. The vessel will be carried to Polyarnoye on pontoons, which are being prepared by the United Kingdom.
2. Canada To Continue Funding Disposal of Russian Nuclear Submarines
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Canada plans to continue funding the disposal of Russian nuclear submarines at the Zvyozdochka shipyard in Severodvinsk under the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, a Canadian diplomat said.
Canada is allocating about 1 billion Canadian dollars under the Global Partnership, which is a plan approved by the Group of Eight industrialized countries, John Morrison, minister counselor at the Canadian Embassy to Russia, told Interfax.
Part of this money is channeled into nuclear submarine disposal at Zvyozdochka.
Zvyozdochka is currently involved in the disposal of the B-502 Volgograd submarine and has scrapped several submarines of what NATO designates as Victor III and Victor I classes.
3. Norway Plans To Allocate 110 Million Crowns for Russian Radiation Security
(for personal use only)
The Norwegian government plans to allocate 110 million Norwegian crowns for the implementation of nuclear and radiation security programs in Russia in 2006.
The international environmental association Bellona, which favors increasing the financing of environmental programs by Norway, said this figure is only 4 million Norwegian crowns higher than that allocated in 2005.
The Murmansk-based Northern Radioactive Waste Handling Federal Enterprise (SevRAO) said the Norwegian town of Vadso will be the venue of a meeting between Murmansk region Governor Yury Yevdokimov and Finnark County Governor Gunnar Kjonnoy on February 21-22.
SevRAO Chief Engineer Vladimir Khandobin said "the meeting is designed to sum up the results of the work for last year and set the primary goals for the upcoming period."
"The consideration of financial issues should be tied to the concept of environmental rehabilitation of the Andreyev Bay," in which Norway is also involved, he said.
"A negative conclusion has been given as regards the operation of the berth of this former Northern Fleet base without its overhaul. Therefore, we need a project for its restoration and this is one of the priorities issues for us," Khandobin said.
In addition, it is planned to launch the construction of infrastructure for removing spent nuclear fuel from the base and resolve a number of concomitant problems starting from 2007, he said.
1. Press Conference for the Russian and Foreign Media
President Vladimir V. Putin
(for personal use only)
OKSANA BOIKO (TV channel Russia Today): Vladimir Vladimirovich, please tell us what has Russia's leadership chosen as its priority directions for the upcoming G8 summit? What are the topics? What answer would you give sceptics who say that Russia does not belong in the G8.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: We chose the topics based on the themes that are being put forward for discussion at the G8 summit this summer in St Petersburg. The problems and challenges that are literally facing humanity. This the first thing.
The second. When choosing certain themes, we deliberately tried to choose those in which Russia could actively and effectively take part in finding a solution to the problem.
For this reason it was natural to make our choice during consultations with our partners, and we regularly work with our partners from the G8, both during the Sherpa meetings and at the highest political level. I am very thankful to our partners for the help and support they gave us both before choosing the themes and during the preparation which is now underway. So for this reason it was natural for us. We first chose energy security in the world, second the fight against infectious diseases, and third problems concerning education. In addition, all of these themes are constantly being discussed in the G8 in one or another form, style or amount. We are suggesting them as core topics. All of our partners have agreed to this.
Regarding those adversaries you mentioned who say that Russia does not belong in the G8, I know that our country has such adversaries. They are stuck in the previous century, all these Sovietologists. Despite the fact that the Soviet Union has ceased to exist, they are still there because they do not have another occupation. What can we say to them? I know the mood of the G8 leaders. No one is against Russia being included and actively participating in this club because nobody wants the G8 to become a meeting between fat cats, especially since differences and inequalities in the world are increasing. The difference between the quality of life for the so-called golden billion and the poorest countries of the world is growing. On one hand, Russia acts as an excellent example due to its economic and financial growth. Let me remind you that we have a surplus budget and a trade surplus. The relationship between our external debt and GDP is 30 percent, in 2000 it was 80 percent, and today this is one of the best such indicators in the world. Everything bears witness to the fact that Russia is pursuing a correct measured economic policy. But at the same time, unfortunately, we cannot brag so long as our population is not rich. A great deal of our population is poor. This is our misfortune and our main task: diminishing the number of poor people in our country. And in this sense, as a country with a developing economy and social sector that is better than any other, then maybe in the G8 we can understand the problems of developing countries. For this reason Russia's participation in the G8 is absolutely natural.
In addition, the G8 is a club which addresses global problems and, first and foremost, security problems. Can someone in this hall imagine resolving, shall we say, problems concerning global nuclear security without the participation of the largest nuclear power in the world, the Russian Federation? Of course not. So everyone who talks about this, whether Russia belongs there or not, can just talk. It is their job. The dog barks, the caravan rolls on.
SVETLANA TSYGANOVA (Impulse newspaper, city of Zelenogorsk, Karsnoyarsky Region): In the enterprises and cities associated with the Federal Atomic Energy Agency, and I represent one of these cities, there is a great deal of interest in the global initiative that you talked about last week. You said that during the G8 summit of the Russian presidency you shall propose creating international centres that perform certain functions in the nuclear fuel cycle, in particular, enriching uranium for the countries who are not members of the nuclear club.
Please tell us why Russia needs this? What does it mean in practice? And what tasks for the Federal Atomic Energy Agency does this imply?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: We all know perfectly well how tense the world energy situation is becoming. Many countries of the world including the Russian Federation, the United States, and Europe are actively studying the possibility of alternative sources of energy: hydrogen, thermal energy, wind energy, biological resources and so on. Now people are saying that it is possible to use certain materials from the moon. Right under our feet we have opportunities in nuclear energy that are not being taken advantage of. And of course many members of the international community are interested in developing nuclear energy for peaceful means. Along with this many issues and problems linked with the proliferation of nuclear weapons arise during the implementation of these plans. Because there are a minimum of two problems which cause concern: they are enriching uranium and working with radioactive fuel. Because both can be used to create fuel for nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons themselves. How can we find a solution which will allow us to support those who wish to develop their nuclear energy and at the same time ensure global nuclear security? One of these propositions was made in St Petersburg during the meeting of the Eurasian Economic Community. We suggest creating a network of centres that deal with that part of the nuclear fuel cycle concerning enriching uranium. These centres would be equally accessible to all those who want to participate in developing atomic energy together, there would be no discrimination. This also includes our Iranian partners. You know that the Russian Federation already made this proposal to Iran quite a long time ago. At a meeting in St Petersburg my colleagues, the heads of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, did not rule out participating in this project.
In this way it could be designed from a long-term perspective with the participation of countries that have important reserves of raw uranium. But there need not only be one such centre. The Russian Federation is a natural partner for resolving such tasks, because of the highly developed level of nuclear power in the country, the presence of schools, experts, human resources, and the development of nuclear energy infrastructure. Such centres could be created in other states of the nuclear club and, I repeat, along with ensuring the provision of non-discriminatory access to all those who want to use them.
As to the Russian Federation, I draw your attention to the fact that approximately 16 to 17 percent of the energy we generate is derived from nuclear power. In some countries, including the European Union, in France for example, nuclear energy accounts for almost 80 percent. If in 20 or 30 years we attain 25 percent then this is already quite good. Nuclear energy for peaceful means is now concentrated in the European part of Russia, particularly in the Urals, and we have many northern territories which need additional energy resources. Of course, we must do this in conformity with modern security requirements. There are the so-called fast reactors which in practice are very safe. I have already spoken about this more than once and experts know what to do in this sector. We very much expect effective cooperation from the part of the nuclear club and all those who want to take part in this joint effort.
2. Remarks for the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the Defense Threat Reduction Center
Senator Richard Lugar
Department of State
(for personal use only)
It is a pleasure to be here today to celebrate the opening of the Defense Threat Reduction Center. I have enjoyed a close relationship with DTRA and its predecessors for more than a decade. I am pleased that you have a headquarters worthy of the important role you play in safeguarding our country and protecting the American people.
It is also fitting that I again come here to Ft. Belvoir, because I have visited many of your overseas locations. I have had the opportunity to meet your colleagues in Almaty, Tashkent, Moscow, Votkinsk, Kiev, Baku and Tbilisi. I am sure DTRA staff in those places will share our pride when they visit this facility.
I have enjoyed working closely with DTRA experts in the implementation of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. Since its inception, Nunn-Lugar has separated 6,828 former Soviet nuclear warheads from missiles. In addition, the program has destroyed: 611 ballistic missiles; 485 missile silos; 55 mobile missile launchers; 152 strategic bombers; 865 nuclear air-launched cruise missiles; 563 submarine launched ballistic missiles; 436 submarine missile launchers; 29 strategic missile submarines; and 194 nuclear test tunnels. Perhaps most importantly, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan are nuclear weapons free as a result of cooperative efforts under the Nunn-Lugar program.
In addition, Nunn-Lugar is building a facility at Shchuchye, Russia, to eliminate some two million chemical weapons, each capable of killing tens of thousands of people. DTRA personnel are also working at many bio-weapon sites to establish security controls and dismantle weapons infrastructure. Recently, Presidents Bush and Putin agreed to upgrade the safety and security surrounding Russian nuclear warhead storage facilities by the end of 2008.
MEETING THE THREAT WORLDWIDE
These efforts are critical to ensuring that the world's most dangerous weapons are kept out of the hands of the world's most dangerous people. More so than at any time in the past, the spread of weapons of mass destruction constitutes a profound and urgent threat at home and abroad. These weapons are seen by potential adversaries as possessing substantial utility, either for use against regional competitors or as instruments of asymmetric warfare designed to overcome the conventional military superiority of the United States.
The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is not just a security problem. It is the economic dilemma and the moral challenge of the current age. On September 11, 2001, the world witnessed the destructive potential of international terrorism. But the September 11 attacks do not come close to approximating the destruction that would be unleashed by a nuclear weapon. Weapons of mass destruction have made it possible for a small nation, or even a sub national group, to kill as many innocent people in a day as national armies killed in months of fighting during World War II. Beyond the initial horrific loss of life, efforts to advance the standard of living throughout the world would be undercut by the uncertainty and fear that would follow a catastrophic terrorist attack.
Even if we succeed spectacularly at building democracy around the world, bringing stability to failed states, and spreading economic opportunity broadly, we will not be secure from the actions of small, disaffected groups that acquire weapons of mass destruction. Everything is at risk if we fail in this one area.
As Al Qaeda and other groups seek nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, DTRA is leading America's efforts to eliminate known weapons and production facilities, secure borders, improve the control and accounting of stockpiles, and better prepare our military and our homeland for the possibility of WMD attacks.
I have been promoting the broad utilization of DTRA's experience and expertise. DTRA has established a deep reservoir of talent that should be applied to non-proliferation objectives around the world. The original Nunn-Lugar bill was concerned with the former Soviet Union, because that is where the vast majority of weapons and materials of mass destruction were. Today, we must be prepared to extend the Nunn-Lugar concept wherever it can be usefully applied.
I have seen the energy and imagination of technicians, contract supervisors, equipment operators, negotiators, auditors, and many other specialists who have been willing to live in remote areas of the former Soviet Union to get this job done. This is an instrument begging to be used anywhere that we can achieve diplomatic breakthroughs.
The utility of the Nunn-Lugar concept rests not only with raw numbers of weapons destroyed. It has also been an important vehicle for communication and cooperation. The Nunn-Lugar Program continued as a constant in the U.S.-Russian relationship even when other aspects of the relationship were in decline. It has improved military-to-military contacts and established greater transparency in areas that used to be the object of intense secrecy and suspicion.
During the last Congress, I introduced the Nunn-Lugar Expansion Act, which allows $50 million in Nunn-Lugar funding to be used outside the former Soviet Union. President Bush signed the legislation into law in 2003. This Act allows us to take advantage of non-proliferation opportunities wherever they may appear. President Bush has embraced the Nunn-Lugar concept and has endorsed efforts to apply it worldwide. This authority already is being used to destroy 16 tons of chemical weapons in Albania.
STREAMLINING OUR EFFORTS
In addition to expanding the geographic scope of the program, I have been working to reduce the bureaucratic red tape with which you frequently have to contend. Last year I offered legislation to eliminate the Congressional conditions on the Nunn-Lugar program. These conditions have created needless reporting requirements and have sometimes delayed efforts to initiate non-proliferation projects and respond to emergencies.
My legislation passed the Senate as an amendment to the DOD Authorization bill by a vote of 78-19. This overwhelming outcome was evidence of the strong support in the Senate for Cooperative Threat Reduction. Unfortunately, the conference committee did not accept the amendment outright. But it did adopt the compromise position of giving the President permanent authority to waive the Congressional conditions. This was a major step forward. I will continue to work closely with the Administration to ensure that the vital work you are doing faces as few bureaucratic obstacles as possible.
ACHIEVING EXTRAORDINARY OUTCOMES
The experience of the Nunn-Lugar program has demonstrated that the threat of weapons of mass destruction can lead to extraordinary outcomes based on mutual interest. No one would have predicted in the 1980s that you and your colleagues would be working side-by-side with American contractors on the ground in Russia destroying thousands of strategic systems. Similarly, from the vantage point of today, few observers would predict that DTRA would eventually participate in dismantlement operations in North Korea or, perhaps, Iran. The future is not clear in these rogue states, but if a peaceful outcome is to be secured and weapons of mass destruction are to be eliminated, we should not rule out such extraordinary outcomes. I cannot think of any group of professionals better suited to take on these challenges. If we are to protect ourselves during this incredibly dangerous period, we must create new non-proliferation partners and aggressively pursue any non-proliferation opportunities that appear.
Here at DTRA you have adopted the slogan "Making the World Safer." That is extremely fitting because that is exactly what you are doing one missile elimination, treaty inspection, and technological development at a time. You are on the frontlines of our country's defense against the number one national security threat facing the United States. You have accepted the risks and hardships that go with this work, because you are committed to making the world a safer place and protecting the American people.
It has been an adventure and a privilege for me to have explored chemical weapons depots, pathogen laboratories, arctic submarine bases, and nuclear missile silos with the brave and talented men and women of this agency. For the sake of our children and our hopes for a peaceful and prosperous future, we must be successful. You have my confidence and my thanks.
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