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.
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Russian Senate Ratifies Nuclear Cooperation Pact With Iran
Moscow (AFP) Dec 26, 2001
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