Russia Signals Unity With West After Iranian Rocket Launch
Feb 4 2010
By Lucian Kim
Feb. 4 (Bloomberg) — Russia is moving closer to the West on how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program following a rocket launch by the Islamic republic, said Konstantin Kosachyov, the head of the foreign relations committee of Russia’s lower house of parliament.
“Mutual understanding between Russia and its international partners on additional sanctions has clearly improved,” Kosachyov said in an interview with state broadcaster Rossiya 24 today. “The situation is beginning to alarm us increasingly.”
Iran fired a satellite into space yesterday at a ceremony attended by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The launch prompted Western concern that the rocket technology, like Iran’s nuclear program, could have military applications. Iran maintains it has only peaceful intentions.
Russia, a member of the six-country contact group with Iran, has made contradictory statements on the need for more United Nations economic sanctions. President Dmitry Medvedev has indicated a willingness to toughen the trade embargo, while Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has held off from new threats.
“What Iran is trying to do now raises concern because it’s classic dual-use technology,” said Kosachyov. Should Iran one day start producing nuclear warheads, the situation would be even more dangerous if the country had medium- and long-range missiles, he said.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner suggested last week that Russia was in agreement on tougher UN sanctions against Iran, leaving China as the sole member of the six-nation contact group against raising pressure on Iran.
Russia has a “trusting, direct dialogue” with its international partners, according to Kosachyov. He expressed satisfaction that rhetoric about the possible use of force against Iran has been toned down, as it was “the most dangerous and unpredictable option.”
The U.S., Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany have been negotiating with Iran to convince it to disclose the nature of its nuclear program.
–Editors: Jeffrey Donovan, Alan Crawford
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