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Moscow Fiercely Attacks CIA Report On Contracts With Iran

File Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Khatami (L) exchange signed documents, 12 March 2001 in the Kremlin, in Moscow. Russia defied the United States and signed a series of agreements cementing military and nuclear cooperation with Iran during the first Russian-Iranian summit in more than a decade. AFP Pool Photo by Yuri Kadobnov
Moscow (AFP) Feb 7, 2002
The Russian government on Thursday savagely attacked a CIA report linking Russia to sales of sensitive technologies to Iran and other states, declaring the accusations "categorically unacceptable."

Moscow said it would be seeking an official clarification on the report from President George W. Bush's administration.

"Perhaps for the first time in our recent relations, an official American document is making an effort to cast doubt on our desire, will and ability to avert leaks of sensitive equipment and technologies abroad," a statement from the foreign ministry said.

It said the report, delivered by the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, George Tenet, in Washington on Wednesday, caused "great surprise in Russia, but also serious concern."

In reviewing US-Russia relations before a Senate intelligence panel, Tenet said the Russian leader's ability to deepen the relationship with the United States would depend on how bilateral security issues were resolved.

"Differences remain on such core security issues as the disposition of US and Russian strategic nuclear forces, US Missile Defense plans, NATO enlargement, and Russian proliferation activities with states like Iran," he said.

"Russia appears to be the first choice of proliferant states seeking the most advanced technology and training," Tenet said.

"These sales are a major source of funds for Russian commercial and defense industries and military research and development."

In Moscow on Thursday, a top Iranian diplomat dismissed suggestions that his country was developing its weapons of mass destruction by purchasing sensitive know-how from Russian research institutes.

"Iran does not intend to develop or purchase nuclear armaments," Iran's ambassador to Russia Gholam Reza Shafei was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

Russia has previously expressed concern over US threats to expand its anti-terror campaign to traditional Moscow allies like Iran and Iraq.

Moscow has admitted to selling armored personnel carriers, tanks and short-range defense systems to Iran, stressing they represented legitimate economic transactions.

Several top Russian research institutes have been sanctioned by the US administration for their close links with the Iranian military.

Russia is also helping Iran construct a nuclear facility which Tehran insists is for purely peaceful purposes.

All rights reserved. 2002 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.

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Russian Senate Ratifies Nuclear Cooperation Pact With Iran
Moscow (AFP) Dec 26, 2001
Russia's upper house of parliament Wednesday unanimously ratified a new partnership treaty with Iran which includes cooperating in developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. "Iran remains a strategic partner of Russia," said Mikhail Margelov, head of the foreign affairs committee of the Federation Council, following the vote by 127 senators.

US Slaps Sanctions On Chinese Companies For Restricted Exports
 Washington (AFP) Jan 24, 2002
The United States said Thursday it had slapped sanctions on two Chinese firms and one individual agent it accused of supplying Iran with materials used in the manufacture of chemical and biological weapons.

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