December 10, 2008
A senior Russian diplomat says that even if Iran sought to make a nuclear weapon, it does not have the necessary “means” to do so.
“One cannot say today that Iran can create nuclear weapons,” head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department of European cooperation, Vladimir Voronkov, was quoted by ITAR-TASS news agency as saying Tuesday.
Voronkov said Russian intelligence agencies confirm that Iran does not have the “means” to develop a military nuclear program.
Russia, helping Iran construct a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant in the southern city of Bushehr, has worked closely with Iran in the field of nuclear technology over the past decade.
His remarks come shortly after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Sunday that Iran “is still pursuing quite clearly the technology that can lead to a nuclear weapon.”
Under the allegation that a nuclear Tehran would pose an existential threat to Israel; Washington and Tel Aviv have threatened Iran with the use of military action should the country continue its enrichment program.
Iran insists its activities are directed at the civilian applications of the technology and are in line with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — the treaty grants all signatories the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.
Meanwhile, the Bush administration’s carrot-and-stick policy toward Iran has resulted in three rounds of United Nations Security Council sanctions resolutions against Tehran — which Moscow also approved of.
The Kremlin later denounced the US policy and urged the White House to engage Iran in direct diplomacy. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in early September that he would not approve of any new sanctions against Tehran for the time being.
This article was posted: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 3:43 pm