Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has dismissed as immaterial the objections of Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad to the Russian proposal to enrich Iranian uranium on Russian territory.
The Iranian President's statement was diplomatically inappropriate. If he was referring to Russia, he questioned Russia's reliability, if not integrity, as a business partner.
"Are you offering us to upgrade uranium abroad, as if you are dealing with a medieval country? If we agree, what are we going to do if one day you fail to get us nuclear fuel?" he said at a rally during his trip to the Busher nuclear power plant, which is being built by Russian specialists.
Saying "you", Ahmadinejad was addressing the United States, and another negotiator, the EU Three, which can accept the only option of Iranian uranium enrichment with participation of Iranian experts - not in Iran, but at a joint venture and on condition that nuclear waste must be retrieved by this venture.
But the matter deals with the Russian proposal to upgrade Iranian nuclear fuel outside Iran as the only remaining option for breaking the deadlock. This idea is being currently reviewed by the IAEA and EU Three as a Moscow's offer to Tehran to set up a joint venture on Russian territory. Ahmadinejad was bound to know that the Russian proposal was the basis for all recent consultations on the Iranian nuclear program.
"The foes are trying to deprive Iran of its legal rights so as to later on sell it nuclear energy at high prices," he said at the same rally.
Russia also falls under the "foes", at least indirectly. It was Russia, which has committed itself to supply Iran with nuclear fuel if it accepts its proposal on a joint venture. There are no other proposals in the IAEA.
" It is meaningless to cast doubt over Russia's honest proposal to Iran," said Sergei Lavrov.
The Russian Foreign Minister gave a diplomatic reply, which is understandable. He has no doubt that Tehran does not in fact consider Russia its "foe," or the Small Satan (as it dubbed the U.S.S.R.), as distinct from the Big Satan, the U.S.
But the phrase "...what are we going to do if one day you fail to get us nuclear fuel?" may apply to Russia as well.
Iran has voiced these apprehensions more than once. But while they were a general statement in the past, now they sound as a verdict pronounced by the president in the context of the Russian proposal.
"Iran will continue following its road, and will not give up its legal right under any circumstances." The Iranian President expressed this position not only for the current emergency meeting of IAEA managing directors in Vienna, but also with a view to March 6 when a new, planned session at the same level will take place to decide on the referral of the Iranian nuclear file to the UN Security Council.
What stands behind this? Apparently, Tehran does not want its nuclear programs to be under tough IAEA control. A recent 5+1 joint resolution (adopted by Russia, the U.S. China, U.K., and France as Security Council permanent members, and Germany as part of EU Three at the talks with Iran) instructs the IAEA to report to the Security Council in detail about checkups of Iranian nuclear facilities. In effect, it does not leave Iran any freedom of maneuver. Iran can only avoid the referral of its nuclear file to the Security Council, if it goes for close cooperation with the IAEA, which is strongly recommended by Moscow and Beijing.
Obviously, Tehran does not like the idea, and it is trying to break the rigid framework of the resolution. A recently published statement by the Iranian Foreign Ministry sounds like an ultimatum: If the Iranian file is sent to the UN Security Council, Iran will stop its cooperation with the IAEA. "In conditions when the Islamic Republic of Iran allows the IAEA to control its entire nuclear activities of its own free will, certain countries are trying to stop this process by reporting the problem to the Security Council, and compelling the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to stop such voluntary cooperation in compliance with a resolution by the Mejlis of the Iranian Council," reads the statement.
Tehran is ready to continue discussing the Russian proposal on resolving Iran's nuclear problem (after the 4 February vote in the International Atomic Energy Agency to report Iran to the United Nations Security Council), Iranian Vice-President and Head of the Atomic Energy Organization Gholamreza Aqazadeh said on Sunday (5 February).
He said Tehran is still prepared to negotiate about its nuclear program with all states of the world, including Russia.
"Despite the fact that there are a number of major problems about implementing the Russian proposal, we have not rejected that proposal," said Aqazadeh.
He said the positions of Russia and China on resolving the Iranian nuclear problem are different from the positions of Europe and the US.
"Russia and China are pursuing their own interests and the motives these countries are pursuing are different from the motives of Europe and the US," the Iranian nuclear chief said.
"What matters is that Russia and China are not accepting the idea of imposing restrictions and sanctions on Iran and merely voted for notifying the UN Security Council on the Iranian nuclear program," he said.
(Passage omitted to end: background information; previously reported call by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov for Iran to consider the offer seriously)
3. Russian Analyst Criticizes IAEA Reporting of Iran to Security Council
(for personal use only)
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)Board of Governors' decision to report Iran to the UN Security Council is premature, said Ivan Safranchuk, the head of the Russian office of the Center for Defense Information.
"The cart has been put before the horse now. This decision is useless, because, if it were right, it should be made in March," Safranchuk told Interfax on Saturday.
Safranchuk pointed out that the Board of Governors session, which was convened at the initiative of a number of Western countries, was extraordinary, and IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei has so far presented only an interim version of a report on Iran.
"The fact that the Board of Governors passed the resolution not on Thursday but only on Saturday points to substantial differences among its members," the Russian expert said.
The decision provides Iran "with a declarative advantage, because Tehran might now say that the decision on its referral was made by bypassing international procedures and has not been supported by findings set out in the full version of the IAEA head's report," Safranchuk said.
ElBaradei is expected to present the full report at a planned IAEA Board of Governors session in March.
"It is exactly because of the Board of Governors' hasty decision that Iran will say that it is being treated in a prejudiced way and that the referral is motivated by politics rather than the IAEA's expert analysis," he said.
Center of Modern Iran Studies Director Rajab Safarov told Interfax that "the decision to report Iran to the UN Security Council means the end of diplomacy." "There was a last chance of a diplomatic settlement, and Iran has repeatedly said that it sees any reporting as equal to a full referral," Safarov said.
In the current situation, the Iranian government "will have no choice but to suspend further diplomatic efforts, stop cooperation with the IAEA, withdraw from the additional protocol to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and start industrial uranium enrichment," he said.
"If Iran follows this scenario - while Iran is not a humble country but one aspiring to hegemony in the region and one of the leaders in the Islamic world - confrontation in the world will rise," Safarov said.
4. NO CONFIDENCE IN TEHRAN; The future of the Iranian nuclear program is being decided in Vienna
Alexander Samokhotkin and Katerina Labetskaya
What the Papers Say
(for personal use only)
The international community and Iran exchange threats; Debates over Iran at the meeting of the IAEA Board of Directors at headquarters in Vienna began yesterday. Thirty-five directors will make up their minds today. Russia is represented by Grigori Berdennikov, the diplomat who represents Moscow at all international organizations in Vienna.
Debates over Iran at the meeting of the IAEA Board of Directors at headquarters in Vienna began yesterday. Thirty-five directors will make up their minds today. Russia is represented by Grigori Berdennikov, the diplomat who represents Moscow at all international organizations in Vienna. IAEA Assistant General Director Olly Heinonen made a report yesterday. The IAEA resolution will be passed when the debates are over. Its draft was endorsed in London earlier this week by foreign ministers of permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.
The document instructs IAEA General Director Mohammad al-Baradei to inform the UN Security Council of the steps Tehran should take to clean its slate and dispel the suspicions that it is working on nuclear weapons. To accomplish that, Iran is supposed to "renew the moratorium" on "any and all activities" related to uranium enrichment or research in the field.
Evaluating the situation as "critical but not a crisis," al-Baradei will make his final report to the IAEA Board of Directors on March 6.
The Egyptian calls the Russian initiative of a joint venture enriching uranium for Iran on the territory of Russia "a bridge to a fair settlement." In other words, Tehran has something to give some serious thought to, and the time to do so. For the time being, however, the Iranians keep up their no-nonsense tone of statements. Ali Asgar Soltanii, Iranian representative to the IAEA, said that if the problem was turned over to the UN Security Council, his country would initiate "uranium enrichment on a major scale." Soltanii admitted meanwhile that Iran counted on its "Russian and Chinese friends' support."
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak visited Tehran on Wednesday to try to persuade Ali Larijani of the Iranian Security Council that "Iran must honor IAEA decisions."
Moscow urges Tehran to renew the moratorium on research in the field of uranium enrichment resumed in Isfahan last August. Bare hours before the IAEA meeting in Vienna, Larijani warned that if Iran's nuclear dossier is sent to the UN Security Council, his country would respond by moving to full-scale uranium enrichment. On January 10, in the presence of IAEA inspectors, the Iranians unsealed the underground facility in Natanza and proclaimed that some "limited research" would be done there.
IAEA inspectors claim that they saw in Iran the documents proving that this country possessed some components of nuclear weapons. The Iranians inevitably reply that these documents are easily assessable and available in Internet.
A Russian specialist who asked that he not be identified told us that "the Iranians did introduce a moratorium on uranium enrichment and fuel processing in November 2004" but "began nipping it off, again and again" afterwards. They maintain in the meantime that their purposes and objectives are peaceful. "And yet, we are talking about improving technologies," the specialist said. "There exist suspicions - quite serious - that Iran may use these technologies for whatever it decides. There are no guarantees that there are no hidden facilities somewhere in Iran where the necessary materials may be produced."
"Formally, Tehran is not standing in violation of anything," the expert added. "Renewal of the research is not the problem. The problem is that Iran is distrusted."
An interview with Greg Schulte, Permanent Representative of the United States to the international organizations in Vienna and former executive secretary of the US National Security Council.
Question: Why does the United States insist on transfer of the Iranian dossier to the UN Security Council? Iran isn't violating the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Greg Schulte: Enrichment of uranium will be the next step unless Iran is stopped now. I suspect that its allegedly scientific research program is but a part of a larger military program. This is what our conviction that the matter should be turned over to the UN Security Council is based on.
The government of Iran made numerous efforts to prevent the matter from ending up at the UN Security Council. It even made some minor concessions. It follows that Iran would not want to follow in the steps of North Korea, a country isolated from the international community.
In my view, Iran went ahead and removed the seals from the nuclear facilities precisely because we did not pass its nuclear folder to the UN Security Council last autumn. Tehran took it as a signal to proceed with uranium enrichment. Either we react or Tehran will be reassured of its impunity. An energetic policy on the part of the IAEA will enable us to take a stiffer stand in the hope to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear aspirations.
Question: Will transfer of the folder to the UN Security Council mean inevitable sanctions against Iran?
Greg Schulte: Their possibility is not to be ruled out, but it is not what matters. Transfer of the folder to the UN Security Council will mean continuation of the attempts to settle the problem by diplomatic means and not an end of these attempts at all.
Question: How do you perceive the role of Russia in the matter?
Greg Schulte: Russia has some influence with Iran. It could play an important role indeed. We appeal to Russia not merely because it is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, but mostly because it has its own interests in the region to promote.
Question: And what can the United States offer Iran?
Greg Schulte: I don't think Tehran will want to talk to the Great Satan. It will listen to Russia rather than to the United States.
Question: What's so bad about Iran?
Greg Schulte: In hiding its nuclear programs from the IAEA, it deceived the international community. What Iran is doing is the IAEA is just one percent of what it is supposed to be doing. Iran is withholding information from the IAEA on what is taking place in Natanza. There are underground centrifuges there with some unassuming low buildings on the surface. Iran talks peaceful programs but boosts its military capacities at the same time.
Question: Is there any hard evidence that a military program exists? I mean real evidence - not something like what was presented as proof in the case of Iraq.
Greg Schulte: We overestimated Iraq's capacities. And yet, I have never had 100% reliable information in all my career... These days, we do not have complete information on Iran's actions. Getting information on its nuclear programs is extremely difficult, but the IAEA did have access to certain facilities.
Question: Why then are you sure that Iran has military programs?
Greg Schulte: Tehran's investments in two underground systems in Natanza indicate that it is making progress in the fields of full-scale uranium enrichment and producing materials for nuclear weapons. Judging by the data compiled by the IAEA, the Iranian authorities intend to run an experiment with centrifuges and end up with the substance that is the basic requirement for full-scale uranium enrichment.
That Iran lied to the international community and concealed information on its activities in this sphere is known to the IAEA and well-documented. It is another indication that something is wrong. Abdula Kadir Khan's acquisition of machinery and technologies in the black market is another symptom of military ambitions of Iran. Machinery and technologies were thus bought in February 2003 and May 2004.
Russia has a contract with Iran for nuclear fuel deliveries for the next decade. What does Tehran need manufacture on its own territory when cheap fuel is available in the international market? Besides, Tehran doesn't have enough of uranium for production of nuclear fuel but quite enough for its enrichment in military purposes.
Question: When do you think it will have nuclear weapons in its possession?
Greg Schulte: Who can say? Iran is building up the critical mass necessary for production of nuclear weapons. If it is permitted to continue its military program, he will have nuclear weapons by the end of the decade.
Original source: Vremya Novostei, February 3, 2006, p. 5
5. "Bush Telephones Putin Over Iran Crisis; Russia and China Could Open Way for Sanctions as Early as March"
Yuliya Petrovskaya, Artur Blinov, and Ivan Groshkov
(for personal use only)
The Russian Federation Presidential Staff announced yesterday that a telephone conversation had taken place between Vladimir Putin and US President George Bush. According to official reports, they discussed the development of the situation with regard to the Iranian nuclear problem and the efforts the international community is making in the nonproliferation sphere. The conversation took place at the initiative of the American side.
For the first time since the 2003 Iraqi crisis, Russia and the Western countries have been in direct confrontation over an acute international problem. The Iranian nuclear program, whose fate will be decided today by the IAEA, has considerably complicated relations within the G8, whose president Russia is for the first time. The London attempt to settle the contradiction between the key countries involved in the problem produced only an interim solution. In March the "Iranian dossier" will inevitably be examined at the UN Security Council and Moscow will have to choose between supporting Tehran and steps to punish it.
Most likely Russia will support sanctions or -- in accordance with the Iraqi scenario -- will allow the United States and its closest allies to take steps themselves with regard to Tehran within or outside the framework of the UN Security Council's powers. China, which traditionally abstains from voting in the UN Security Council on controversial security problems, may act similarly.
But Moscow and Beijing are currently making statements which could be interpreted by Iran as the emergence -- to its advantage -- of contradictions between East and West. The sharp new statements by the Iranian leaders after the London conference are an example. Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad denounced US President George Bush for supporting the "puppet Zionist regime" in Israel and threatened to bring him to the "court of justice." And the Islamic Republic's defense minister, Mostafa Najjar, said: "Any attack on Iran's peaceful nuclear establishments will encounter a swift and crushing rebuff from our armed forces."
Tehran, which is insisting on its legal right to conduct research in the peaceful nuclear sphere and to produce nuclear fuel for itself, is threatening that, if its "dossier" is passed to the UN Security Council, then as early as this Saturday (4 February) access to nuclear establishments will be closed to IAEA inspectors. This warning was issued yesterday by Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani.
Tehran's confidence is obviously informed by Russian Federation Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's explanations that at this stage no decisions will be made on the "Iranian dossier" and the UN Security Council will merely hear information on the issue. In turn the Chinese Foreign Ministry says the Iranian issue should be strictly a matter for the IAEA, not the UN Security Council.
At the same time changes which do not favor Tehran can be seen in the IAEA's position. This is borne out by information relating to the content of the report prepared for today's session of the Board of Governors in Vienna. The five-page document, compiled hot on the heels of the visit to the Islamic republic by ElBaradei's deputy, Olli Heinonen, says that Iran has acquired "on the black market" instructions for assembling the components for a nuclear weapons. It also confirms that the Iranians have already started to demothball the operation of a number of key nuclear establishments, although uranium enrichment itself has not yet begun. Let us remind you that depending on its degree of enrichment uranium can be used as fuel for nuclear power stations or for weapons purposes.
Yesterday Russian Federation Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Kislyak and his Chinese counterpart arrived in Tehran to try to persuade Iran not to do anything rash and to give a chance for the diplomatic resolution of the crisis. They held talks with Ali Larijani, chairman of the Supreme National Security Council and the chief Iranian negotiator. In connection with this visit, Sergey Lavrov said that the two countries' representatives will call on Tehran to "settle the issues which the IAEA is presenting to them."
The questions to which the Iranians must give their answer before March include the possibility of the Iranians' renunciation of the creation of the full fuel cycle on their territory, with the transfer abroad of uranium enrichment. That is the essence of the Russian proposal which Tehran is still examining.
Iranian official spokesmen have called this plan "progressive" but have not actually said they agree to it. Beijing has also advocated a solution of this kind. Now the positions of the two capitals -- Moscow and Beijing -- is largely tied to whether the Iranians agree to what is now their joint idea.
6. "Tehran's Brakes Fail. Iran Starts Preparations To Enrich Uranium"
(for personal use only)
Iran's announcement that it is ending cooperation with the international inspectors substantially reduces the chances of resolving the Iranian nuclear problem by diplomatic means.
After Iran has made it clear, despite pressure from the UN Security Council, that it does not intend to abandon its nuclear program, it is not hard to guess the results of the IAEA Board of Governors vote. However, the Iranian dossier has not yet reached the UN Security Council and Tehran can still change its position. So far, apart from occasions when it has misled the world public, which occurred in the past and applied to nuclear-related operations, there are no charges to level against Iran. The West only has suspicions, backed by a very weak basis of proof.
And it is quite problematic to take any steps against Tehran for a past deception which, incidentally, the Iranians themselves have admitted.
Steps of that kind could discredit the UN Security Council. Particularly if you look not at the proposals but at the specific charges against Iran.
Tehran is currently actively maneuvering to weaken pressure from the EU and the United States. But if the Iran dossier nevertheless passes from the IAEA to the UN Security Council, then most likely Tehran will not wait for sanctions to annul its signature to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty's Additional Protocol. And it could refuse to enact the Treaty itself.
But the Iranians will not start to cut oil shipments in response to sanctions. As the holder of third place in the world in terms of oil reserves and as a mighty regional power with a population of 70 million, Iran will never cut off the channel through which an enormous amount of money flows into the country. The "regime of the ayatollahs" knows that Europe will be unable to renounce Iranian oil. I do not mention China, for which Iranian deliveries of energy carriers are of a strategic nature.
It is not out of the question that Tehran, in response to sanctions from the United Nations, could close the country to any nuclear monitoring. And then no one in the world will know for certain what is really happening in Iran. Nor is Tehran afraid of military actions from Washington. The Americans are too bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most likely we can expect only an active war of words. So that all the trump cards for the time being are in the Iranians' hands.
7. "No Sanctions So Far. Iranian Nuclear Dossier Will Be Referred to UN Security Council"
Artur Blinov and Ivan Groshkov
(for personal use only)
The main international body responsible for questions of war and peace -- the UN Security Council -- will consider the question of the Iranian nuclear program in the very near future. This was announced in London yesterday following the meeting of the foreign ministers of the six countries directly involved in discussing the Iranian nuclear problem. Tehran is extremely unhappy with this decision.
The foreign ministers of Russia, Britain, the FRG, the PRC, and France, and the US secretary of state took part in the meeting which took up Monday (30 January) evening and Tuesday (31 January) morning. In other words, all the permanent members of the UN Security Council and the full EU3, which has been conducting negotiations with Iran on this topic, were represented, including Germany, which is not a member of the Security Council.
The agreement reached in London predetermines the decision of the IAEA Board of Governors' extraordinary session scheduled for 2 February on the issue of Iran's 'nuclear program. And even, experts predict, may imply that Russia and China will not abstain but back the corresponding draft resolution.
The accord's main feature is that it has been coordinated between the Western countries, on the one hand, and Russia and China, on the other. And that is its principal -- surprising -- feature. The adoption of the decision was not impeded by Tehran's latest diplomatic move the day before -- the promise made by its representatives in Brussels not to begin industrial uranium enrichment in the event of the talks on this problem carrying on.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that the intention is that the IAEA will brief the UN Security Council on the Iranian nuclear program, however, the latter will not take any steps in respect of Iran until March when the fuller official IAEA report is to be submitted.
This clarification from the head of the British diplomatic service is evidence that the London agreement in practice reflects the "well-considered" plan proposed by Moscow (see 30 January 2006): First discuss the problem at the Security Council, then ask the IAEA to find a diplomatic solution, and only then can further options be considered. At the same time this plan does not rule out the possibility that Western countries may raise the question of sanctions against Tehran at this later stage.
Here is what the Russian Foreign Ministry said about the London accord yesterday: "A compromise was reached between the participants. The ministers agreed that the UN Security Council will only be briefed on the results of the IAEA Board of Governors' 2-3 February extraordinary session and possible action on the part of the Council is postponed until at least March this year when the IAEA Board of Governors will convene for a routine session."
Smolensk-Sennaya (the Russian Foreign Ministry) points out that "participants in the meeting are united in their desire to strive to settle the Iranian nuclear problem by diplomatic means. At the same time the general view of those who approved the meeting's final document is that Iran needs fully to reinstate the moratorium on activity associated with uranium enrichment, including research and development." Washington is pleased with the decision adopted despite its compromise nature. "This is the strongest statement of all those that we could have hoped for," a senior US diplomat told Reuter.
At the same time Tehran is making no secret of its irritation. Iranian Vice President Gholamreza Aqazadeh, head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, said that the referral of the Iranian dossier to the UN Security Council "has no legal grounds." Ali Larijani, secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, even believes that "referring the Iranian dossier or even briefing the UN Security Council thereon is unconstructive and heralds an end to diplomacy."
Despite the brusque statements being heard from Tehran Moscow believes that the London accords will not result in the cancellation of the Russian-Iranian consultations regarding the plan to set up a joint uranium enrichment venture on Russian territory. According to the Russian Federation Foreign Ministry's official spokesman, Mikhail Kamynin, "this meeting is not being canceled, and a decision is now being made as to the form in which it will take place." "We will try to do everything to ensure that Iran returns to the moratorium regime," Kamynin said.
US and Russian experts in the field of international relations gave their view of the accord reached in London. In the opinion of Rose Gottemoeller, director of the Moscow Carnegie Center, "the agreement reached in London is a classic diplomatic compromise." The expert, who specializes in the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, believes that the compromise consists in the fact that "Russia and China, which are opposed to sanctions being imposed on the Islamic Republic by resolution of the Security Council, have given their agreement in principle to the 'dossier's' referral to the Security Council. The West, in turn, has agreed to delay with this although it initially expressed readiness for immediate tough action."
At the same time, in Gottemoeller's opinion, the fact that the participants in the meeting in London have been able to reach agreement does not mean that they will demonstrate similar unity in the future. In this respect a great deal will depend on the conclusions contained in Mohamed ElBaradei's March report.
At the same time Viktor Kremenyuk, deputy director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' United States and Canada Institute, is not ruling out possible undeclared accords behind the London decision. They may pertain to the most sensitive issue for Tehran, namely, the security of Iran. The expert points out that one reason for the tough behavior of Iran's representatives during and outside the talks is their references to the threat that the United States poses to Iran. For its part Washington has done nothing to dispel these fears. It has repeatedly threatened the Iranians with force and the US military presence in the region only makes these threats real, bolstering the Iranians' fears. In this context possible behind-the-scenes promises of nonaggression might help resolve the problem and may have been voiced in some form.
The Russian expert reckons that the London accords mean some progress in the positions espoused by Moscow and Beijing, which reflect their concern at the threat of nuclear weapons proliferation. The problem of nonproliferation in Asia is of particular significance to Russia, the expert believes, since it is a question of a neighboring region.
8. Support For Expansion Of 'Nuclear Club' Falling - Poll
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Russians have changed their opinion of any possible enlargement of the unofficial 'club' of nuclear states, a January poll conducted across 46 Russian regions by the All-Russian Center for Public Opinion Studies (VTsIOM) has revealed.
In July 2005 a total of 51% of respondents spoke in favor of 'new nuclear countries,' believing that they have the same rights as the United States, China and Russia, with only 29% claiming that countries seeking nuclear weapons should be isolated and sanctions should be imposed upon them.
However, the January 2006 poll showed that the number of those who support nuclear ambitions of 'third world countries' has decreased significantly. As a result, both opinions enjoy almost equal support - 39% and 36% respectively. A total of 36% of respondents believe that Russia should not participate in the conflict between the West and Iran concerning the Iranian nuclear problem.
1. Russia to report on WMD non-proliferation at G8 summit
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Russia will present a report on the situation in the area of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction at the G8 summit in St. Petersburg in July 2006, said Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov.
"We are drawing up a public report for the upcoming G8 summit to set forth our views on the situation in the non-proliferation area, including in particular countries and regions, and also Russia's approaches to the resolution of key international problems in that area," Ivanov said speaking at the 42nd Munich Conference on Security Policy on Sunday.
"We believe that, in the observance of international agreements, there should be no exceptions for signatories, and international export control regimes should not be used as a disguise for practicing unfair competition and squeezing out rivals from the weapon and military hardware markets," Ivanov said.
2. France soon to approve funds for Russian nuclear decommissioning
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An agreement with France will be signed within the next two to three weeks under which the country will help fund a program to secure and destroy Soviet-era radioactive materials, a senior official from Russia's nuclear agency said Thursday.
Sergei Antipov, the deputy head of the Federal Agency for Nuclear Power, said: "Within the next two to three weeks, an agreement will be signed with France through the G8 Global Partnership agreement, and also with Norway."
The Global Partnership program was adopted by leaders of the Group of Eight club of rich nations at the 2002 summit in Kananaskis, Canada, and aims to prevent terrorist groups from obtaining weapons and materials of mass destruction.
Russia inherited vast stockpiles of nuclear and chemical weapons and related dangerous materials from the Soviet Union. Thousands of metric tons of chemical weapons are stored in the country, as well as large stocks of highly enriched uranium and weapon-grade plutonium, and several decommissioned nuclear submarines with spent nuclear fuel.
Under the Global Partnership program, Russia must secure and destroy these stockpiles.
As part of these efforts, the country's nuclear agency is looking to secure more than $120 million from a number of countries to scrap decommissioned nuclear submarines, with the Russian government providing $70 million for the task in 2006 alone.
Antipov said the governments of Germany, the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, France, Canada, Japan, Australia and the European Union would allot the funds, with talks on South Korea joining the program already under way.
Russia hopes to scrap all decommissioned nuclear submarines by 2010, he said, adding that Russia had already spent $200 million on the project, and as of September 2005, the other countries had provided $1.45 billion.
3. INTERVIEW WITH ANATOLY ANTONOV, DIRECTOR OF THE FOREIGN MINISTRY DEPARTMENT FOR SECURITY AND DISARMAMENT ISSUES
Official Kremlin International News Broadcast
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ANATOLY ANTONOV: IT IS OF PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE TO PREVENT WMD FROM FALLING INTO THE HANDS OF TERRORISTS The nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is one of the priority issues to be addressed at the upcoming G8 summit in St. Petersburg. The director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Security and Disarmament Department, Anatoly Antonov, talks about this in an interview with Vremya Novostei special correspondent Katerina Labetskaya.
Q: The G8 documents on nonproliferation adopted at Sea Island in 2004 and Gleneagles in 2005, which address the issue of using sensitive nuclear technology (SNT) for peaceful purposes, sometimes are perceived by the third world as an intentional attempt to bar it from utilizing the achievements of civilization. What is to be done to avoid offenses?
A: There must be political and economic conditions that will eliminate stimuli for non-nuclear states to obtain SNT. This means developing multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle that will guarantee access to services in this field for non-nuclear countries that have voluntarily given up plans of creating their own full nuclear fuel cycle. It is of paramount importance to prevent WMD from falling into the hands of terrorists.
Q: UN Security Council Resolution 1540, adopted in April 2004, calls on that. How is work going?
A: Our priority is full compliance by all states with its provisions. To this end Committee 1540 was created. It is now studying national reports submitted by 124 countries and additional information from 40 countries. There is still a lot to be done, and we think that the Security Council should extend the mandate of Committee 1540.
Q: Is the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) relevant today? The NPT Review Conference in 2005 failed to adopt a consensus-based final document. Pyongyang's and Teheran's nuclear demarches give bad publicity to the treaty in the world...
A: The NPT is an irreplaceable component of international security and stability. The Review Conference confirmed this even though it failed to make concrete recommendations on how to further strengthen the treaty. However it confirmed the main conclusion: new threats and challenges to the nonproliferation regime can and should be eliminated on the basis of the NPT.
Addressing the situation surrounding the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs remains on the G8 agenda. We will continue the search for common mechanisms of dealing with these issues by political and diplomatic methods. We will work with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in order to find such a mutually acceptable solution on Iran that would, on the one hand, allow Teheran to develop nuclear energy, and on the other hand, would ensure that its nuclear program pursues solely peaceful purposes. The resolution of the Korean nuclear problem will require North Korea's return to the NPT, the resumption of IAEA inspections in the country, an end to the international isolation of North Korea, and large-scale economic assistance to this country. The six- sided talks (involving China, the US, Russia, Japan, and the two Koreas) provide an effective mechanism for finding such a solution.
Q: What is the fate of the Special Committee on Safeguards and Verification that was initiated by the G8 Summit at Sea Island and created by the IAEA Board of Governors?
A: The range of issues to be addressed by the Committee is being determined now. It must not duplicate existing controlling bodies of the IAEA. The Committee could facilitate the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1540, improve the mechanism of safeguards, and universalize the application of the Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreements with the IAEA. For the time being, this effective mechanism of ensuring the transparency of national nuclear programs exists in 71 countries. The G8 urged non-member countries in 2005 to step up this process. The universalization of the Additional Protocol will continue this year.
Q: Are nuclear export controls becoming tighter?
A: At the G8 initiative, the Nuclear Suppliers Group is strengthening control over SNT transfers (uranium enrichment and chemical processing of spent nuclear fuel) and is developing criteria for such supplies. SNT can be used for the creation of nuclear weapons, too. This is why we will continue this work in the G8. The Group of Eight adheres to the "strategy of restraint", adopted at Sea Island and reaffirmed at Gleneagles, while developing SNT transfer rules in a multilateral format. In other words, G8 member countries will not come up with new initiatives for a transfer of SNT to countries that don't have them.
Q: What about guaranteed access to "peaceful atom" for non- nuclear countries that have given up nuclear fuel cycle work?
A: A year ago the IAEA published a report on multilateral approaches prepared by the Expert Group, which proposes a mechanism for assistance to countries with "moderate" energy needs related to nuclear energy, without having the expensive full nuclear fuel cycle. The substantive side of the proposal is being studied. Given the energy-oriented nature of Russia's presidency in the G8, we will continue this work at the forum.
Q: What about India? It is not a party to the NPT and has no access to peaceful nuclear technology?
A: The world must not ignore the energy needs of rapidly developing India with a good "nonproliferation record". Making an exception to the rules would be appropriate here, but not introducing new norms that may emasculate the nonproliferation regime.
Q: What do we plan to do within the Group of Eight to address biological threats?
A: Fighting infectious diseases is a priority for the Russian presidency in the Group of Eight. As for nonproliferation problems, our plans include a joint inventory of international forums and mechanisms as well as their efforts to ensure biological security. We are also preparing a Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention Review Conference this year.
Original source: VREMYA NOVOSTEI DAILY, P. 6, FEBRUARY 2, 2006
4. Russia accuses G8 of breaking disarmament aid promises
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A senior Russian nuclear official on Thursday accused Moscow's G8 partners of breaking a promise to help finance disarmament and non-proliferation programmes for the country's weapons of mass destruction.
"The sums actually spent are different from the ones that were promised" as part of the G8 group of industrialised nations' Global Partnership programme, Sergei Antipov, Deputy Director of Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency, said at a news conference in Moscow.
"Participants in the Global Partnership programme had promised to spend 1.415 billion dollars (1.17 billion euros) on disarmament programmes" in Russia last year but "the contracts concluded until the end of September added up to 354 million dollars -- a quarter of the sum," Antipov said.
"And there are countries that still haven't yet freed up a cent for Russia" because they lack a legal framework to do so, he added.
The Global Partnership against the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction was launched at the G8 summit in Kananaskis (Canada) in 2002.
The G8, made up of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States, agreed to provide 20 billion dollars (16.5 billion euros) over 10 years for disarmament and non-proliferation in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union.
"We are following the timetable for dismantling our nuclear submarines independent of financing from our partners," Antipov said.
Moscow hoped to dismantle all its decommissioned nuclear submarines by 2010, he said.
"In 2005, we dismantled 19 nuclear submarines. In 2006, we are expecting to dismantle 17," the official said.
Russia had decommissioned 197 nuclear submarines since the beginning of the 1980s of which 132 have already been dismantled, leaving 65 still to be dismantled, Antipov said.
5. Russia In G8 Seeks Political Solution To Iranian, North Korean Nuclear Problems
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The settlement of the situation concerning the nuclear programs of Iran and the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) "will remain on the agenda of the G8". This was announced today by the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry department for security and disarmament, Anatoliy Antonov.
"We continue to search for common approaches to the settlement on the nuclear programs of Iran and the DPRK using political and diplomatic methods," the diplomat stressed today in an interview published in the Vremya Novostey newspaper. "We are supporting the IAEA in reaching some kind of mutual understanding about Iran that, on the one hand, would enable Tehran to develop nuclear energy and, on the other, provide confidence about the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program".
Tackling the nuclear program of Pyongyang, the diplomat went on to say, "presupposes the return of North Korea to the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the resumption of IAEA inspections there, moving the DPRK out of international isolation and providing large-scale economic assistance to it". According to Antonov, "an effective mechanism for searching for a solution of this kind is six-party talks, in which both Koreas, Russia, China, CIS and Japan take part".
Russia's priority in the G8 is "fight against infectious diseases". "Among the problems of nonproliferation, our plans include a joint review of international fora and mechanisms and efforts taken within the framework of those institutions to ensure biological security," the diplomat noted. "We are preparing to hold a conference on the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC)".
6. Russia May Turn Into Global Partnership Donor From Recipient Soon
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Russia may turn into the donor of the Global Partnership program instead of being its recipient in several years to come, the deputy head of the Russian federal atomic energy agency Rosatom, Sergei Antipov said on Thursday.
Russia boosts nuclear submarine scrapping although western partners' funding lags behind, he said.
"In the future Russia will begin to share its experience in this field with other countries," Antipov said.
He called the comprehensive utilization of Russia's nuclear submarines as one of the G8's four priority lines of activity in ensuring world energy security.
The Global Partnership program against the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction was signed within the framework of the G-8 summit in Kananaskis, Canada in June 2002.
The signatories pledged to allocate 20 billion U.S. dollars. The United States shall provide 10 billion U.S. dollars and Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Canada, France and Japan - another 10 billion U.S. dollars.
Most of these funds shall be addressed to Russia, which as the recipient-country is expected to spend 2.2 billion U.S. dollars of its own money on scrapping nuclear submarines.
The elimination of 40,000 tonnes of chemical weapons stored in Russia is estimated at 3 billion U.S. dollars. The donor-countries shall allocate one-third of this sum.
1. "Kiriyenko and Khloponin in ZERO City; Rosatom Head and Krasnoyarsk Governor To Work Together on Zheleznogorsk's Future"
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Vasiliy Zhidkov, general director of a mining and chemicals combine in Zheleznogorsk, will be leaving his job in the next few days. This unexpected news flew into Moscow from from Krasnoyarsk yesterday evening, overtaking Sergey Kiriyenko's plane as he returned from a two-day working trip to Siberia.
After spending only around 24 hours in the nuclear ZATO (closed administrative territorial entity), the Rosatom (Federal Atomic Energy Agency) head described its city-sized enterprise as locked into "the economics of the absurd" through a "solid system of cross-subsidies." The situation has already caught the interest of the General Prosecutor's Office, and Kiriyenko thought the law-enforcement agencies justified in their concern.
According to reports leaking out to new agencies from the closed-doors conference, current mining and chemicals combine boss Vasiliy Zhidkov will be found another job and Chief Engineer Yuriy Revenko will be appointed acting general director. The name of the new general director will be decided later in an open contest -- in line with procedures now in force in Rosatom. Step by step the industry is ridding itself of the semimilitary management methods that have characterized it hitherto.
The other substantial result of the trip was an agreement between Rosatom and Krasnoyarsk Kray, signed respectively by Sergey Kiriyenko and Governor Aleksandr Khloponin. The understanding provides for 25% of all the mining and chemicals combine's profits -- from existing and anticipated contracts -- to be directed into resolving the kray's ecological problems. This is a kind of compensation or, if you like, a carrot for the local inhabitants, many of whom are not ecstatic about the idea of Zheleznogorsk's being turned into an international spent nuclear fuel storage and recycling center.
Kiriyenko and Khloponin agreed, in addition, to set up a working group for the purpose of developing the mining and chemicals combine in Zheleznogorsk. As Sergey Novikov, the Rosatom boss's press secretary, explained, the working group will deal primarily with issues involved in the construction of replacemement power-generation facilities at the mining and chemicals combine, with the enterprise's current activities, including safety and ecological problems, and also with everything connected with the erection of a plant in Zheleznogorsk to produce semicrystalline silicates.
As for the Sosnovoborsk TETs (heat and electric power station), which is meant to replace the still-operational underground ADE-2 reactor that supplies heat and light to the ZATO's 100,000 inhabitants, Moscow's and local management's expectations are still at odds. The existing plan assumes that the TETs will take 67 months to erect, whereas Rosatom is suggesting completion in 48 months, in other words four years. "I am convinced that that is realistic," Sergey Kiriyenko stated. And he called for the TETs buildings already constructed to be switched to the assets column as soon as possible. He said that in order to obtain the first 40 million dollars for this project from the Americans the legal documentation has to be ready by 1 March.
The point being that, under the Russian-American agreement on cutting back nuclear production facilities, the money for erecting the TETs has to be allocated by the US Department of Energy. The total cost of the project is estimated at $470 million. The Spetsstroy Federal State Unitary Enterprise won the construction tender in July 2005, after Krasnoyarskenergo and the Rosatomstroy construction investment concern signed a contract on joint construction of the Sosnovoborsk TETs in July 2004.
Under the contract the local energy company is supposed to hand over the land in Sosnovoborsk on which the incomplete TETs stands, and which it owns, for the project to be constructed.
It is to iron out all the bottlenecks and the intracies that arise in a timely fashion that Kiriyenko and Khloponin are setting up the working group.
[ZERO City - reference to Soviet-era sci-fi movie]
1. Official Says Russia To Scrap Nuclear Submarines Strictly According To Plan
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Russia is to dispose of 17 decommissioned nuclear submarines in 2006, deputy head of the Russian Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) Sergey Antipov told journalists on Thursday (3 February).
"We scrapped 19 nuclear submarines in 2005 and we plan to scrap 17 this year. This is linked to the fact that submarines to be disposed of are at different backup stages," Antipov said. According to him, the scrapping process is progressing strictly as planned. "This is a rigid technological process. All submarines intended to be scrapped will be scrapped by 2010," Antipov noted.
Foreign partners have promised financial aid totalling 1.42bn dollars for the disposal of nuclear submarines in the framework of the Global Partnership programme, he went on. "As of late September 2005, we have signed contracts worth 354m dollars," he said.
According to Antipov, several foreign partners within the Global Partnership framework delay the transfer of promised funds, which may affect the rehabilitation pace of the navy's former coastal technical bases, where spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste are stored.
He said Russia undertook to allocate 600m dollars for the disposal of nuclear submarines in the Global Partnership framework. "As of late September 2005, Russia allocated 210m dollars, i.e. more than one third of the promised sum," he stressed.
(A total of 65 nuclear submarines are still to be scrapped in Russia, a report by Russian ITAR-TASS news agency, Moscow, in Russian 1106 gmt 2 Feb 06, quoted Antipov as saying.)
2. Russia Boosts N-subs Scrapping Though Foreign Funding Lags Behind
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Russia boosts nuclear submarines scrapping although its foreign partners within the Global Partnership program have lagged behind with funding, the deputy head of the Russian federal atomic energy agency Rosatom, Sergei Antipov, said on Thursday.
"We boost nuclear submarines scrapping in the Far East with the help of only Japan and Australia," he said. "Under the program we ratified agreements with Italy, Great Britain and also sealed a deal with Japan on scrapping five submarines."
He pointed out that "in the near future Russia will sign agreements with Norway and France. Preparations are already underway."
"This year we restored to operation a submarine defuelling complex and began to build spent fuel storage facilities in remote regions of the Kola Peninsula, northwestern Russia," Antipov said.
1. Rosatom Official: Russia Should Upgrade Spent Nuclear Fuel Disposal Techniques
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Russia should upgrade its techniques of handling spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste in order to remain competitive in the field, deputy head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency Sergey Antipov told a Thursday news conference in Moscow.
Russia has the necessary facilities for such work, he said.
A significant amount of radioactive waste has accumulated in Russia, nearly every technology produces waste, Antipov said.
Any decision concerning radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel should be thoroughly tested for environmental safety, he said.
A federal program of atomic energy development is currently being drafted. The program provides for a closed fuel cycle and the use of fast-neutron reactors, he said.
2. "First Portfolio From Kiriyenko. Vladimir Travin Will Be Responsible for Rosatom Finances"
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The 45-year-old Vladimir Travin has been appointed deputy head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom). As announced in yesterday's edition of, the relevant directive was signed by Russian Federation Government Chairman Mikhail Fradkov.
In the wake of the initial personnel appointments made by Sergey Kiriyenko's regime (50-year-old Vladimir Gavrilov took charge of the "Vedomstvennaya okhrana Rosatoma" federal state unitary enterprise and 37-year-old Artem Butov became general director of the Rosatomstroy Investment-Construction Concern federal state unitary enterprise) the anticipated reshuffle within the agency boss's immediate entourage has taken place.
Vladimir Travin, originally from the All-Russia Scientific Research Institute for Experimental Physics nuclear center (Sarov, Nizhniy Novgorod Oblast) and undoubtedly acquainted with Sergey Kiriyenko from his work in the Volga Federal District, has replaced as deputy head of Rosatom for economy and finance 60-year-old Evald Antipenko, who had held the position since 2001 -- virtually all the time that Aleksandr Rumyantsev was at the helm of the nuclear industry.
So far little is known from official sources about the new appointee. He was born in 1960 and is a graduate of Arzamas Political Institute and Moscow's Physics and Technical Institute. He worked for a while at the Russian federal nuclear center in Sarov in positions ranging from engineer to scientific staffer. His subsequent career is linked exclusively to finance and banking. In December 2005, under Kiriyenko, Vladimir Travin became adviser to the Rosatom boss. The industry's headquarters on Bolshaya Ordynka officially commented on this appointment by saying that in his new position as deputy head of the agency Travin "will be overseeing the agency's financial policy."
But Sergey Kiriyenko himself set off for Krasnoyarsk Kray yesterday where he and Governor Aleksandr Khloponin are planning to study in detail the state of affairs at the Zheleznogorsk Mining and Chemical Combine. One of three industrial reactors for the production of weapons-grade plutonium is still operating in this closed administrative territorial entity, previously known as Krasnoyarsk-26. This, the last nuclear reactor at the Mining and Chemical Combine, has been in operation for over 40 years now and in its capacity as an underground nuclear power station supplies Zheleznogorsk's population of 100,000 with heat and electricity. An alternative source of energy needs to be found in order to shut it down.
The potential of this nuclear closed administrative territorial entity is considered to offer the most preferable site for an international center for the handling of spent nuclear fuel.
Vladimir Putin has shared his plans for increasing the share of Russian nuclear power generation to 25% of the energy sector by 2030. The north of the country will be the bridgehead for constructing new AES's (nuclear electric power stations), primarily fast reactors. The annual expenditure on such a project is to amount to at least $2-3 billion.
At the annual news conference in the Kremlin Vladimir Putin, inter alia, expressed dissatisfaction with the low level of nuclear power generation that exists in Russia now. "As for Russia, I draw your attention to the fact that in our country today nuclear energy accounts for approximately 16-17% of total power generation, whereas in some countries, including those of the EU -- France, for example -- it accounts for almost 80%," the president declared. In this connection he expressed the intention to increase nuclear energy's share of overall Russian power generation. "If we increase it to 25% by 2030, that will not be bad," the president emphasized.
Representatives of the sector were inspired by Putin's statement. "The use of nuclear energy will make it possible in the future to almost halve the consumption of gas, which it will be possible to utilize differently -- to sell it, for example," Nikolay Shingarev, an expert in the nuclear industry sphere, said. "Plus the fact that AES construction will make it possible to operate without problems within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol."
However, the times and volumes indicated by Putin differ from the times mentioned in Russia's Energy Strategy. This document, which was considered by the government at the end of last year, planned to increase nuclear energy's share to 23% by 2020. Admittedly, the Industry and Energy Ministry Press Service explained that "the times and conditions recorded in documents may well be varied and supplemented in the course of work."
"It is my personal opinion that nuclear energy's share will hardly exceed the 20% mark by 2020, while the 25% indicator can be reached by 2030," Nikolay Shingarev believes. "However, there are very many problems in the sector, and they still have to be resolved. The fate of the nuclear industry and of power generation will depend on whether the state is able to cope with them and ensure funding," Yuriy Vishnevskiy, ex-head of the Gosatomnadzor (Russian Federal Inspectorate for Nuclear and Radiation Safety), is sure. "Investment in science is needed above all. It is time to stop using 30-year-old projects and start developing something new," the ex-head of the Gosatomnadzor is certain. "The situation with regard to design bureaus is also extremely deplorable. The Atommash and the Izhorskiy Zavod, which used to maintain nuclear building, have been practically ruined," he explained to. "It is necessary to reinstate electronics production. And, finally, conduct an audit of the existence of the fuel component, for it is ridiculous when Russia produces 3,000 tonnes of uranium a year but consumes 10,000 tonnes."
As Sergey Kiriyenko, head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency, declared earlier, it is necessary to construct 25 reactor units during the next 25 years -- which, according to specialists' calculations, will cost approximately $60 billion. "It takes between five and six years to build one unit. If 10 units are built at once, then the annual cost will amount to $2-3 billion, but with investment in the development of nuclear building and science these sums will double," Vishnevskiy estimates.
The only words of Vladimir Putin's which specialists were dubious about concerned the need to construct nuclear stations in the northern territories. "There is the Bilibino Station with four units, and they are planning to close it down. No one wants it. It would, pardon me, be stupid to construct more powerful fast reactors in the north!" Vishnevskiy said.
People at the Physics and Power Engineering Institute think differently. "It really does make no sense to construct fast reactors in northern territories, but it would be possible to implement projects for floating stations or less powerful thermal ones," Aleksandr Zhukov, chief of the institute's information department, said. But all nuclear scientists agree that there is no future for nuclear power generation in Russia without constructing fast reactors.
Ecologists think differently. "Putin made the correct reservation that 'fast reactors are "practically" safe,' but in the event of an accident they are twice as dangerous as conventional stations," Vladimir Chuprov, leader of the energy department of Greenpeace-Russia, said. "The Beloyarsk BN-600 has been hit by a whole string of accidents."
The French and the Japanese have curtailed their programs for creating fast reactors, not least because of safety considerations. As for the considerations of saving gas, the modernization of gas-fired heat and electric power station will make it possible to save both more, and more cheaply," the expert remarked.
"In my opinion, Putin made a mistake by embarking on the path of constructing fast reactors. But the very strong nuclear lobby which exists in our country is, to all intents and purposes, aiming at one goal and cannot be withstood," Chuprov believes.
4. Russia: Kiriyenko Says State To Retain Ownership of Privatized Nuclear Power Plants
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The Rosenergoatom concern (nuclear power station operator) is due to be privatized over the next 12 months, the head of Rosatom (Federal Agency for Atomic Energy), Sergey Kiriyenko, has said at the end of his tour of nuclear enterprises in Krasnoyarsk Territory. He specified that "one year has been set aside for the task that has been set (by Putin) of increasing the proportion of electricity generated by nuclear power stations".
However, Kiriyenko stressed, "this process must not lead to a change of ownership. Whatever happens, the state will remain the outright owner of Russia's nuclear power stations".
The concern's flotation "will enable Rosenergoatom to compete better in future as our country's energy production programme develops", the Rosatom chief explained.
1. Russia: Agency Seeks Ideas To Combat Radioactive Waste In Chelyabinsk
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Russia's Federal Agency for Atomic Energy /Rosatom/ said it is open to suggestions regarding the solution of the problem in Chelyabinsk Region, where a leak is possible from the Techa cascade, which accumulates low-level radioactive waste.
The agency launches the "collection of technical and commercial proposals on resolving the problem of the Techa cascade of water basins used by the Mayak works in the Chelyabinsk region," A Rosatom representative told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
The cascade comprises four artificial reservoirs on an area of 67 square kilometers separated by dams and two bypass channels. Mayak annually dumps into them some 300,000 cubic meters of liquid radioactive waste of low activity level, according to Rosatom officials.
Dramatic climate changes have been happening in southern Urals in the past few decades: beginning from the 1980s, annual rainfall began to exceed evaporation by 90 mm a year, on average.
As a result, the water level in the area was steadily increasing. "The process, if not stopped, may cause a spill of radioactive water into the open drainage network," an expert said.
The sealed cascade is not an isolated system, because it is impossible to prevent the filtration of water through the bottoms of reservoirs and dams, he noted.
Head of the Federal Agency for Atomic Industry Sergei Kiriyenko began to familiarize himself with facilities in the sector by visiting the Mayak company in December.
After the inspection tour, he announced plans to prepare a program to resolve environmental problems. "Many ecological problems have piled around Mayak; they need a comprehensive solution," he said noting that Russia will be the first country in the world to tackle such a problem.
"We'll use scientists' recommendations," Kiriyenko said. He also promised that the situation would not worsen.
Mayak, which has been operating for more than half a century, including in the years of the "Cold War" and the runaway arms race, has caused much damage to the ecology of the Ural region and its residents.
Dozens of thousands of people suffered in a nuclear waste spill of 1957. Its effects have not been fully eliminated yet.
The Techa cascade causes the greatest concern, where dams keep enclosed more than 350 million cubic meters of liquid waste.
1. Deputy Premier: Russia To Focus on Quality, Not Quantity Of Nuclear Weapons
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Although Russia is continuing to perfect its strategic deterrent forces, any increase in their quantity is not at issue, Russia's deputy prime minister and its defense minister, Sergey Ivanov, has said.
"Russia is unswervingly and fully complying with its commitments under the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions (SORT) and the Treaty of the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START-2)," he said in a speech at the 42nd Munich Conference on Security Policy.
At the same time, Ivanov said, Russia is of course continuing to improve its strategic deterrent forces.
"However, our efforts are aimed solely at their qualitative modernization. Any build-up of their quantity is not at issue," Ivanov underlined. For example, test launches are carried out within the confines of the documents that exist and with all the requirements of control mechanisms fulfilled, he explained.
The reduction of strategic offensive arms, Ivanov said, is a key tool in ensuring security in the modern-day world.
The surprise about the international response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent news conference was its controversial, even ironic tone on some issues.
For instance, the Associated Press might have been trying to sound ironic when saying that Putin "touted" or "boasted of" Russia's new missile capability.
In fact, irony is probably the last word one would use when discussing Russia's missile capability if they knew it well enough. The President was referring to the silo-based and road mobile Topol-M (SS-X-27), the two Strategic Missile Force's intercontinental ballistic missile systems, and to the similar Bulava-30 (SS-NX-30) bound for new Russian Navy's Project 955 nuclear-powered submarines (the Borei, the Yury Dolgoruky, and the Alexander Nevsky are being built by a Severodvinsk Arctic shipyard; the keel of the Vladimir Monomakh is to be laid there shortly). The systems are indeed unrivalled, and, as the President rightly said, "it does not matter to these missiles whether there is an ABM system in place or not."
This is mainly because in all versions - silo-based, road mobile, and submarine-launched - the missile picks up speed so fast upon launch that early warning systems monitoring Earth's surface from space just do not have enough time to take appropriate countermeasures.
Moreover, these missiles are not strictly ballistic. They begin midcourse ballistically but, having covered part of it, can dive unexpectedly or make other avoidance maneuvers; in the terminal stage, it maneuvers continuously - like the famous Moskit (SS-N-22 Sunburn) supersonic cruise missile - and, passing a certain point, accelerates to hypersonic speed which is beyond the limits of all operational and most future anti-missile defenses.
Interestingly, the first-ever silo-based SS-X-27 was commissioned for high alert service in Tatishchevo, near Saratov, Central Russia, back in 1997. Now the site already includes over 40 such missiles with single warheads. After an extensive test program last year, the Armed Forces are planning to field first road mobile Topol-Ms at Teykovo, Ivanovo Region, later this year. The "M" in the new version stands not only for mobility but also for its ability to carry multiple re-entry vehicles.
The naval Bulava-30 is even more sophisticated and lighter, 30,000kg compared to the 47,000-kg Topol-M. Some sources say it can carry up to ten re-entry vehicles. This speaks volumes to an expert about the rest of the iceberg people won't usually see: advanced production processes, high technology, efficient numerical simulation techniques, and other support elements that help Russia stay on the cutting edge of technology without running a practical nuclear test program.
Clearly, a man who governs a state with such a deterrent capability has reasons to be proud of it. What is strange here is the perception of this praise as muscle-flexing or saber-rattling, let alone drum-banging.
This reaction seems odd because the strategic missiles Vladimir Putin was referring to have no particular targets and pose no threat to anyone. Russia has never drawn its nuclear sword - and most likely never will - in a power game. It's not Russia's style to say something like "we chair the G8 or someone is going to get it."
An equally important thing about Russia's nuclear capability is that the continuous development and upgrade effort in this domain in no way amounts to an arms race. On the contrary, the overall capability is being reduced. Last year, six new Topols were commissioned in Tatishchevo while two missile divisions -- this means several dozen heavy missiles like the R-36MUTTKh/R-36M2 Voevoda (SS-18 Satan), RT-23UTTKh Molodets (SS-24 Scalpel) and the road mobile Topol (SS-25 Sickle) - were disbanded; another one is going to be disbanded within months.
Russia's nuclear capability is maintained at a minimally sufficient level, and its purpose is not to intimidate but to deter. By 2013, under the SORT, it will range between 1,700 and 2,200 nuclear warheads, a considerable reduction from today's 3,000 in the Strategic Missile Force, according to its commander Colonel General Nikolai Solovtsov, and many more in the Navy and Air Force. Still, military experts say Russia will have even fewer by 2012 - the minimal sufficiency strategy in action.
This is why Putin's self-confidence was so obvious. In today's world, with all its challenges and threats, keeping one's nuclear mind balanced and clear is as important as having a nuclear stockpile under one's belt.
Aleksandr Braterskiy, Konstantin Frumkin, and Dmitriy Litovkin
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At his news conference Vladimir Putin touched on dozens of issues and subjects -- from assessments of the political situation in the country and the world to his attitude toward blonde women. Many of his answers seemed so interesting and important to that they require separate "deciphering." For instance, what kind of weapon is in the Russian Army arsenal that is not bothered by the United States' NMD? Why can the return of major economic assets to state ownership over the past few years not be described as nationalization and why was the government only awarded a "satisfactory" mark? Why is the head of state so interested in historian Klyuchevskiy's lectures and what books do other countries' presidents read now?
How far have your gas pipelines taken the place of the missiles of the Soviet era?
"These are very important systems which -- how can I put this more mildly...are not a response to antimissile defense systems. It does not matter to these missiles whether there is an ABM system in place or not. Because, as I have already said, they operate at hypersonic speed and change trajectory both in terms of course and altitude. An air defense system is designed for ballistic missiles which carry out, are able to carry out a strike while following a ballistic trajectory," Vladimir Putin said at the news conference.
To what was the president referring? Experts have one response to this question -- the latest Topol-M intercontinental missile system, developed by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology. There are several regiments of these silo-launched missiles deployed in Russia today.
The Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology says that the uniqueness of the Topol-M lies in the fact that its launch and flight are not like other strategic systems. The launch is faster as a result of which the enemy's satellite surveillance system has no time to record it. Thanks to several dozen auxiliary engines onboard the missile it does not follow the classic ballistic "parabola" when in flight but a "wavy line," which makes it difficult for missile launch surveillance radars to identify its precise whereabouts. Finally, the last "element" is the hypersonic maneuvering maneuverable nuclear warhead which no air defense system can currently intercept. First, hypersonic targets are indiscernible to modern radar and, second, the possibility of maneuvering at this speed renders the warhead invulnerable to ordinary interceptor missiles flying on "classic" trajectories.
4. THE GENERAL STAFF REVEALS A SECRET REFORM PLAN;...that could transform the Defense Ministry into a civilian structure
What the Papers Say
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New military reforms are planned; The Defense Ministry is completing work on military development plans for the period until 2010. This is the first time in Soviet or post-Soviet history that the Defense Ministry has openly announced a reduction in the base of mobilization.
The brutal attack on a conscript at the Chelyabinsk military college has distracted the general public and analysts from the Defense Ministry's reform plans. But the reforms planned there are fairly radical. Army General Yuri Baluyevsky, Chief of the General Staff, revealed the main points in an article entitled "The General Staff and military development objectives," published in the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper on January 25, 2006.
According to Baluyevsky, the Defense Ministry is completing work on military development plans for the period until 2010. All senior officers will be acquainted with them in the near future. The document will be presented to the national leadership as well. Its realization will depend on the decisions made in the halls of power.
It seems that it is precisely a lack of confidence in how the plans will be received that compelled the General Staff to reveal some of their theses. Judging by what is already known, the plans may really shock the military and society.
Baluyevsky said that a shift to new ("asymmetric") principles of military organization is in the offing. The military as it is - a military for a conventional war on a major scale, or a nuclear conflict - "is out of step with the financial, economic, demographic, and other capacities of the state." Hence, "modernization of the Armed Forces and simultaneous reduction of the base of mobilization" should happen in the near future.
First and foremost, the matter concerns "further development of units and formations of permanent combat readiness, reconnaissance, communications" and "establishment of the optimum ratio of combat and auxiliary units for the purpose of establishment of self-sufficient army groups in the strategic directions." Potential of the nuclear forces will be maintained at "the minimum sufficient level of strategic and regional deterrent." Development of the Air Force with an emphasis on the air defense forces is proclaimed a priority.
"This is the first time in Soviet or post-Soviet history that the Defense Ministry has openly announced a reduction in the base of mobilization," says Vladimir Popov of the Military Sciences Academy. "It means reduction of army enlistment and recruitment offices, conscription panels, storage depots, personnel to be drafted in a war, mobilization capacities of the economy, and so on. It isn't hard to predict that the public will love it."
The thesis on "regional deterrent" to be accomplished by Strategic Nuclear Forces leaves some questions unanswered. "Essentially, the matter concerns the possibility of deployment of nuclear weapons in nearby foreign countries," Popov said. "It means CIS countries. Is that justified? After all, not one post-Soviet republic threatens Russia or even possesses nuclear weapons."
Baluyevsky's article in Krasnaya Zvezda leaves the military analyst under the impression that other momentous decisions in the sphere of the military reforms should be expected. Popov said, "There are the persistent rumors that functions of the Defense Ministry and General Staff will finally be divided. To a considerable extent, the Defense Ministry will be a civilian structure that performs functions of oversight, pursues the personnel policy, and sees to the supplies. It will also handle the moral aspects of military service - no wonder all these speculations concerning establishment of the military police. As for the General Staff, it will command the troops."
Lieutenant General Yuri Netkachev, ex-commander of the Russian Army Group in the Caucasus, supported this theory. "I do hear that the system of main commands in the Armed Forces will be abolished," Netkachev said. "Their functions will be transferred to the General Staff where directorates for the Ground Forces, Navy, etc. will be established. Arms and branches of the service will be abolished as well and replaced with commands - for Strategic Nuclear Forces, Space Defense, Navy, and so on. Status of military districts will go down some."
Experts at the Academy of Military Sciences believe that three territorial commands will be established - in Ulan-Ude (the Far East and Siberian military districts), Samara (Volga-Urals and Caucasus military districts), and Moscow (Moscow and Leningrad military districts). Save for the Northern Fleet, the other four will be disbanded and replaced with squadrons and flotillas for theaters of operations.
Needless to say, the top brass objects to these plans. These reforms will involve making 400 generals redundant - and cutting Army and Navy personnel by a total of 35,000.
Mobilization will be handled by special structures on the level of military districts. A system of reservists (something like the National Guard in the United States) is planned as well.
Original source: Nezavisimaya Gazeta, February 2, 2006, pp. 1, 7
5. Russian Army To Keep RS-12M Missiles in Service Until 2015
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The Russian army will keep intercontinental ballistic missiles RS-12M in service until 2015, deputy commander of the Strategic Missile Forces /RVSN/ Lt-Gen Vitaly Linnik said in an interview carried by the Voyenno-Promyshlenny Kuryer /Military-Industrial Courier/ weekly on Wednesday.
Linnik said the service life of the Topols produced in the period between 1986 until 1994, has been extended to 20 years. "In 2010, some 70 mobile launches of this type will remain in service," he said.
Russia currently has 300 mobile Topol systems on stand-by in nine missile divisions.
"The extension of the service life of the RS-12M missile complexes allows for maintaining the necessary number of missiles and keeping the necessary infrastructure of the positioning districts in the period of their replacement with the promising and highly effective missile complex Topol-M," the General said.
At a news conference in Moscow on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that his country would keep developing advanced nuclear deterrence complexes.
"Last year we tested some missile systems no other country in the world has today, or will have for a long time," he said. These missile complexes are not a counter-measure to the anti-ballistic missile system, but an ABM system is not an obstruction to them. They are hypersonic systems, capable of promptly changing course and altitude, while an ABM is designed to deal with targets having ballistic trajectories."
Earlier, Missile Troops commander Col-Gen Vladimir Solovtsov said the first regiment equipped with mobile Topol-M missiles will go on duty in Teikovskaya division this year, in line with the president's decision.
Another two or three divisions will also receive missiles of this type. It will require ten to 15 years.
In the future, Russia's missile troops /RVSN/ will have just one type of intercontinental ballistic missiles - Topol-M - in its mobile and silo-based versions.
"In several years, the Topol-M in a number of divisions will be equipped with a multiple warhead, similar to the one developed for the sea-launched Bulava missile," Solovtsov said.
Topol-M and Bulava are absolutely different systems. Reporters sometime err saying they are identical, or that Bulava is both land- and sea-launched. The developers of both types of missiles brought to uniformity as many missile parts as possible, which helped save many millions of roubles, according to the RVSN commander.
The K-114 Tula submarine of the Delta IV/Project 667BDRM class returned to the Northern Fleet after an overhaul at the Zvezdochka plant and sea trials.
The plant’s and the Northern Fleet representatives signed the act of the submarine’s acceptance. Tula can operate 10 years more thanks to the overhaul.
The same type submarine – Bryansk is likely to leave the plant this year if the financing is stable. The Defence Ministry financing for Bryansk finished in spring 2005. And some reports suggested the plant’s administration would not release Bryansk until the Defence Ministry pays all the debts. The deputy head of the armaments agency of the Defence Ministry lieutenant general Vladimir Mikheyev said there is no debt, simply the initial price for the repairs was much less, than the price announced recently by the plant’s administration. Earlier, the navy officials promised both submarines would join the Northern fleet in 2005, Interfax reported.
However, it is probably too early to say Tula is back in service — it may have to wait till it gets its complement of missiles. Flight tests of the R-29RM Sineva missile, which will be deployed on Tula, have been completed relatively recently, in June 2004, and Tula is the third in line to get them — after K-51 Verkhoturie and K-84 Ekaterinburg, russianforces. org reported.
K-114 was built at the Sevmash plant in 1987. Tula is one of the last Soviet-built subs and it got its name in 1995 together with the sponsorship from the city of Tula. Submarines of the Project 667BDRM (Delta IV) class entered service in 1985-1991. The total of 7 ships of this class was built. Submarines of this class carry the D-16RM missile system with 16 R-29RM (SS-N-23) missiles.
Last week’s proposal by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov for a multinational Caspian Sea security collective could force Azerbaijan to choose between aligning its strategic interests with Russia or the US, local experts say.
Although few details are known about the collective, the so-called CASFOR proposal, described by Ivanov as “a real-time interaction naval group,” appears to largely mirror the Caspian Guard surveillance initiative set up by the US and Azerbaijan in late 2003 to prevent trafficking in drugs, terrorists and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the Caspian Sea basin.
Like the Caspian Guard, Russia’s CASFOR, stated Ivanov during his January 24 visit to Baku, is intended “to prevent the threat of terrorism and WMD proliferation, [and] the illegal trafficking of weapons and drugs “in the Caspian Sea basin. The initiative would also “protect the economic interests” of the Sea’s five littoral states, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Russia. The plan, which would require the approval of all five Caspian Sea countries, is expected to be part of the official agenda during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Baku in late February.
Azerbaijan is already serving as a platform for surveillance activity by both Russia, which rents a radar station in Gabala region and the US, which has recently stationed two mobile radar stations in the north and south of the country to monitor the Caspian Sea. Ivanov was preceded in Baku on January 19 by General Charles Wald, deputy director for the US’s European Command, which oversees the Caspian Guard initiative.
Nonetheless, political and military experts in Baku expressed surprise both that Azerbaijan appeared willing to consider Ivanov’s proposal, and questioned the likelihood that both initiatives could exist simultaneously in Azerbaijan. The fact that Russia’s initiative is even under consideration suggests that Azerbaijan’s foreign policy may be undergoing key changes, they argued.
Some experts link the situation with increased regional tension connected with both the nuclear crisis in neighboring Iran and intensified talks with Armenia over the breakaway region of Nagorno Karabakh. Others attribute the potential co-existence of two Caspian Sea security initiatives to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who, they say, unlike his father, the late President Heydar Aliyev, has failed to balance Azerbaijani interests carefully between the US and Russia.
Eldar Namazov, a political analyst who served as an aide to President Heydar Aliyev, says that Ilham Aliyev’s domestic policies have dictated “obvious” changes in Azerbaijan’s foreign policy. Azerbaijan’s previous foreign policy was a sort of “symbiosis of authoritarian domestic policy and friendship with Western democracies,” he said, but now that the “authoritarian” elements have “become a big issue in the West,” Azerbaijan is “forced to look for allies among strong countries which do not care about democracy in Azerbaijan.” The result, he argued, will be stronger ties with Russia, aided by Moscow’s support for the Aliyev administration after the disputed results of Azerbaijan’s November 2005 parliamentary elections.
While Aliyev’s intentions toward CASFOR are not known, Namazov suggests that negotiations on the initiative “are either a bluff or [mean that] the Azerbaijani government intends to tickle the West’s vanity.” The US has already started to transfer “some ships and radar stations to Azerbaijani naval forces,” he noted, while the Russian proposal would first require resolution of the dispute between the five Caspian Sea states over their territorial rights in the Sea. “If the initiative will work, it means that Azerbaijan is keen to support Russia’s efforts to challenge US interests in the region,” Namazov said.
Rustam Mammadov, president of the Baku-based Caspian Sea: Partnership for the Future think-tank, also argues that two such initiatives in one sea would never work, but adds that a military pact between the five littoral states would help in obtaining a treaty on territorial rights in the Caspian Sea.
Mammadov, however, contends that the Russian proposal is intended to block outside countries from the Caspian Sea basin and reserve the area for Moscow’s own influence. “[W]ho from the five littoral Caspian states possesses WMD, or do these five countries really have joint economic interests to secure, and where is the threat? Which army will be the strongest contributor to this group, when some littoral states do not even have a military navy?”
One Azerbaijani military expert also suspects that Russia intends the initiative to weaken American influence with the Aliyev administration, as well as to put a potential dampener on Western-run energy projects in the Sea by reconnoitering provisions for the defense of existing fields. “Russia justifies it with the necessity of a joint struggle against terrorism, smuggling, and WMD trafficking. However, history shows that Russia itself and Iran have been the main threats for the Caspian region,” Janmirza Mirzoyev told Turan news agency on January 27.
CASFOR was not the only Ivanov proposal that presents a potential strategic choice for Azerbaijani foreign policymakers. Military training for Azerbaijani military staff in Russia was also discussed, but local military experts argue that the proposal is at variance with Azerbaijan’s long-term plans to convert its military to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) standards by 2007. Azerbaijan cannot divide its army between “NATO-oriented and Russian-style,” argued Rustam Mammadov. The trainings would be “useless” for “the NATO-oriented and professional army that Azerbaijan declares it wants to create,” concluded Namazov.
A recently formed bilateral commission on military and technical cooperation suggests that Azerbaijan may be willing to tolerate any such dichotomy, however. The commission, to be co-chaired by Alexander Fomin, deputy director of the Russian Federal Military Technical Partnership Service, will address the possible supply of Russian arms to Azerbaijan as well as the enlargement of military cooperation, Ivanov stated at a January 24 press conference in Baku.
Russia’s only remaining military land installation in Azerbaijan, the Daryal Radio Location Station in the mountainous region of Gabala, was the site of a January 25 visit by Ivanov and Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev. Built during Soviet times and now rented by Russia, the station allows Moscow to track ballistic missiles launched from the Persian Gulf area. The installation is located some 360 kilometers from a radar station to be modernized by the US on the Iranian border at Lerik, and about 130 kilometers from the second such station, at Agstafa on the border with Georgia.
The two ministers discussed options for supplying Daryal by railroad and interferences with the station’s frequencies that Ivanov claimed were caused by “different transmitting stations” in the neighborhood. A frequency expert, speaking anonymously, told EurasiaNet that military facilities were the likely cause. Ivanov, speaking to reporters, gave no indication if Azerbaijani, Iranian or American radar stations were to blame, but affirmed that a plan exists for rectifying the problem.
Janmirza Mirzoyev believes that Ivanov’s visit served not only to sell arms to Azerbaijan, but to secure a transport corridor for arms deliveries to Iran via Azerbaijan. “Azerbaijan’s military budget was increased up to $600 millions in 2006. It attracted Russia’s attention. So far, Azerbaijan has bought weapons in third countries – Ukraine, China, Eastern Europe. The Commission on Military Technical Cooperation is intended to change this,” Mirzoyev told Turan.
A secure land route would allow Russia to send arms to Iran without attracting the notice of the US radar stations, which monitor the Caspian Sea, he said. “The increased tension between US and Iran will increase the volume of military cargoes [sent] from Russia to Iran. On one hand, this situation will increase importance of the sea route through the Caspian Sea. However, the American radars will pinpoint any movement in Iran’s direction. That is why Russia will likely be keen to use land transport through Azerbaijan,” he said.
Commented expert Ilgar Mammadov: “It is a difficult time for diplomacy.”
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