Russia Denies Violations of Nuclear Agreements by Iran

In a rebuff to the United States, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov said Tuesday that there was no evidence that Iran had pursued a nuclear weapons capability in violation of international nonproliferation agreements. He contradicted allegations about Iran's nuclear program that US Undersecretary of State John Bolton made in Moscow on Monday. Bolton had sought to persuade Russian officials to acknowledge that Tehran had a clandestine weapons program and to win Russia's support for a critical report on Iran's nuclear efforts by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Losyukov did acknowledge that Iran's nuclear program had some "uncertainties," and he said that Moscow would work with Tehran to "add more transparency" to its program. As for Russian-Iranian nuclear cooperation, Losyukov said the work was "strictly in line with IAEA norms."

Russia's nuclear cooperation with Iran has long been a bone of contention between Washington and Moscow. The United States contends that the technology and expertise Iran is gaining from Russia's construction of the $800-million nuclear power plant in Bushehr could be used for a nuclear weapons program, the Russia Journal reported.

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