During a joint press conference with his Brazilian counterpart Jose Viegas, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov announced that Russia would continue trade and economic cooperation with Iran in all its legitimate forms.
Sergei Ivanov repudiated all attempts to present Russian-Iranian cooperation in the sphere of peaceful uses of atomic energy as assistance with Tehran's nuclear weapons development program (Russian experts are constructing a nuclear power plant in Bushehr in the south of Iran). He called such actions "attempts to conduct unfair competition in order to push Russia from the Iranian market." The Russian minister pointed out that this issue had been already discussed during consultations at the Brazilian Ministry of Defense and the sides will continue such discussions in the future. "The issue has not been discussed in the context of the Iranian situation, though, because we do not have decisive evidence that Iran has an ongoing nuclear weapons program," explained Mr. Ivanov. Earlier, he had announced that the Russian side would not supply nuclear fuel to Iran until Tehran signed an agreement on the return of spent fuel to Russia.
According to Sergei Ivanov, the general topic of the discussion at the Brazilian defense ministry was the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. "The Brazilian leadership regards this problem as seriously as we do and considers it as one of the most dangerous global threats in the 21st century. Russia and Brazil have practically a similar approach toward this issue - we must cooperate within the framework of international law and international organizations, respecting all IAEA requirements," said the Russian minister
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