Iran and Russia Square Off
Newsmax | September 20, 2005
"He (Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov) is really pissed off with them (the Iranians)," one Russian diplomat explained to NewsMax's Stewart Stogel.
The frank assesment came after a private 30-minute meeting on Sunday between Lavrov and newly minted Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki at U.N. headquarters in New York.
Both are attending the annual General Assembly which opened Saturday.
Lavrov was concerned about statements coming from new Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Iran felt no reluctance to offer "peaceful, civilian" nuclear technology to other nations.
While some of the technology Ahmadinejad spoke about was developed in Iran, a substantial amount comes from Russia.
Russia, a key "guarantor" of the (nuclear) Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has become extremely sensitive on the issue of technology transfer, especially to Islamic third-world countries.
The Russian Federation has been engaged in a nasty war with an Islamic revolt in the province of Chechnya.
Nonetheless, Moscow continues to put "finishing touches" on two new "light-water" nuclear power plants in Bushehr on the Iranian Persian Gulf coast.
The $6 billion project, when completed, will give Iran two of the largest nuclear power reactors in the world.
Bushehr, originally started under the Shah in 1978, was intended to move Iran to a nuclear-fueled economy so it could sell more of its oil on the world market.
The project layed dormant for almost 20 years, until Iran cut a deal with Moscow to resurrect the construction in 1996.
The Bushehr reactors have been one of the Russian Federation's largest sources of hard currency income, says the International Atomic Energy Agency (the U.N.'s atomic watchdog).
The Bush administration is so concerned that Tehran will divert fuel from Bushehr for secret military research that Washington pressured Moscow to insist that Iran return all spent fuel from Bushehr to Russia for "reprocessing."
The issue of "reprocessing," a key step in bomb building, is now at the center of a feud between Iran and the IAEA, which may be referred to the U.N. Security Council, which could impose sanctions.
Judging from the angry looks of the two foreign ministers as they left their encounter Sunday evening, it would appear some rough days lie ahead for Moscow and Tehran.