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EURASIA > Russia, China pressure IAEA on Iran: diplomats

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Chinese President Jintao (R) and Russian Prime Minister Putin are seen in this file photo. Russia and China are pushing the IAEA to soften or block the report on Iran. AP Photo.

Chinese President Jintao (R) and Russian Prime Minister Putin are seen in this file photo. Russia and China are pushing the IAEA to soften or block the report on Iran. AP Photo.

Russia and China are urging the U.N. atomic agency to soften or even not issue a report expected in two weeks detailing Iran’s suspected efforts to develop nuclear weapons, diplomats said.

“It does seem like the Russians and Chinese are pressuring the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) to refrain from reporting on the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program,” one Western diplomat said.

Russia warned the United Nations on Tuesday against publishing a report which is expected to heighten suspicion over Iran’s nuclear programme, saying to do so will strain diplomatic efforts to resolve the major powers’ dispute with Tehran. “It would without a doubt strain the atmosphere and may hinder the start of serious negotiations,” the Russian ministry said in a statement on its website.

Another Western envoy to the agency said however that they expected the IAEA head, Yukiya Amano, to resist such pressure and publish the report the week before a Nov. 17-18 meeting of the 35-member IAEA board, as planned. The new report is expected to address what the IAEA calls the “possible military dimension,” meaning Iran’s research of how to put the fissile material in a warhead and the development of ballistic missiles.

Russia sends mobile radar jammers to Iran

Amano said in a September report he was “increasingly concerned” about such activities, saying its information was “extensive and comprehensive and has been acquired both from many (IAEA) member states and through its own efforts.” Russia and China have backed four rounds of U.N. sanctions on Iran since 2006 over its refusal to halt sensitive nuclear work that could have both civilian and military uses.

Russia meanwhile has sent a set of mobile radar jammers to Iran and is negotiating future deliveries that Moscow believes do not contravene the current U.N. sanction regime on the Islamic state, an official said Oct. 25. The arms delivery was disclosed the same day as one Western diplomat said that Russia and China were both urging the UN atomic agency to soften or even hold back a report detailing Iran’s suspected efforts to develop nuclear weapons. “This is a defensive system,” the agency’s deputy director Konstantin Biryulin said.

“We are not talking about jets, submarines or even S-300 (missile) systems. We are talking about providing security for the Iranian state.” “We are in constant talks with Iran over that country’s purchases of military technology that does not fall under U.N. sanctions,” he stated.

Compiled from AFP and Reuters stories by the Daily News staff.

October/30/2011

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