Russian Foreign Minister Regrets Iran's Rejection Of Nuke Deal
Russia's top diplomat today said Moscow
regrets that Iran has rejected a draft deal to send abroad most of its enriched
Speaking in Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov urged more talks with Tehran on the UN-brokered compromise designed to
ease fears that the material could be used to make nuclear weapons.
Lavrov added that the UN could discuss imposing sanctions, a stance favored by
the United States. But he remained noncommittal about whether Russia would
"We are convinced that it is necessary to make additional efforts, both on this
concrete issue and, more broadly, on the question of resuming talks on all
aspects of the Iranian nuclear program," he said.
The United States is expected to introduce a
resolution to the UN Security Council proposing sanctions against Tehran in the
coming weeks. Lavrov stressed, however, that "Iran's right to the peaceful use
of nuclear energy" should not be questioned.
"Our goal is absolutely transparent," Lavrov said. "We want there to be no
doubts among the international community about the exclusively peaceful
character of this program and, at the same time, to make sure that no one casts
any doubt on Iran's right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy."
Iran's Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility south of Tehran
Iran says its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes
Poland 'Fortified Against Russia'
Lavrov made his comments at a wide-ranging press conference in which he
discussed Poland's decision to deploy a U.S. Patriot missile battalion near the
Russian border, Moscow's relations with Ukraine, and negotiations with the
United States on a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).
Warsaw announced on January 20 that the Patriot missile base, which will have up
to eight launch pads and will be manned by 100 U.S. troops, will be deployed in
Saying that Poland appears to be "bracing itself against Russia," Lavrov added
that he doesn't understand why Poland decided to station the Patriot missile
base in a town 60 kilometers from Poland's border with the Russian enclave of
"There must be reasons why these batteries will be deployed where they will be
deployed," Lavrov said. "By the way, I don't have complete information about
this, but if the reports are true, then we have to ask why must they do
something that creates the impression that Poland is being fortified against
Russia. This is what I don't understand. As for the rest, I repeat, of course we
expect to be given an explanation, and then we will analyze the situation."
In an unusually muted reaction, Lavrov called the move an issue of "bilateral
military cooperation between two members of the North Atlantic alliance," adding
that it involves Russia "because we are building our relations both with Poland
and with NATO on the basis of trust and of taking one another's interests into
Commenting on Russia's relations with Ukraine once a new president is elected to
replace pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko, Lavrov said he expects bilateral ties to
be "built on an understanding of the advantages that both peoples, both
countries, can take from close cooperation and the development of a partnership
in all aspects on the strategic level."
In the second round of Ukraine's election on February 7, Prime Minister Yulia
Tymoshenko will face opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych. Both candidates have
expressed a desire for better relations with Moscow, a prospect Lavrov says he
"Now that we know who will be in the second round of the presidential election
in Ukraine, we have reason to think -- on the basis of the statements both
candidates are making -- that Ukraine's attitude to the development of
cooperation with Russia is changing," Lavrov said. "This attitude will be much
less ideologically motivated. I hope that ideology will disappear from our
mutually beneficial ties altogether."
Lavrov also said official negotiations with the United States on a new START
treaty would resume in early February. Moscow and Washington say they are close
to agreement on a successor to the 1991 START treaty, which expired in December,
but U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev have yet
to clinch a deal.
U.S. National Security Adviser James Jones and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff Mike Mullen arrived in Moscow this week for talks on the START treaty.
Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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