Report: Russia considering increasing nuclear aid to Iran
Sunday Times reports Kremlin discussing sending teams of nuclear experts to Tehran, inviting Iranian nuclear scientists to Moscow for training, in response to US call for NATO expansion eastwards. 'Russia may respond by hitting America where it hurts most – Iran,' Russian source says
Russia is considering increasing its assistance to Iran’s nuclear program in response to The United States' call for NATO expansion eastwards, the London-based Sunday Times has reported.
Moscow has been angered by Washington's renewed support for attempts by Georgia and Ukraine to join NATO and by the presence of US Navy vessels in the Black Sea delivering aid to Georgia following the war in the Caucasus.
According to the report, the Kremlin is discussing sending teams of Russian nuclear experts to Tehran and inviting Iranian nuclear scientists to Moscow for training.
The report quotes a source close to the Russian military as saying that “everything has changed since the war in Georgia. What seemed impossible before, is more than possible now when our friends become our enemies and our enemies our friends.
According to the source, “Russia will respond. A number of possibilities are being considered, including hitting America there where it hurts most – Iran.”
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin hinted last week that Russia would respond quietly to the numerous NATO ships entering the Black Sea.
Russian news agency Interfax reported at the time that Putin had said during a visit to Uzbekistan that "the response will be clam and not hysterical, but a response will come." Asked about its nature, he responded, "You'll see."
France: Sanctions could backfire on Europe
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told Newsweek on Saturday that imposing sanctions on Russia could backfire on the European Union, which depends on Moscow for its oil and gas.
EU leaders declared this week that the relations with Russia were at a crossroads, but did not decide to impose sanctions. Kouchner added that the EU's relations with Russia were also important in terms of the Iranian nuclear plan.
US Vice President Dick Cheney said Saturday that "Russian arms-dealing has endangered the prospects for peace and freedom in the region (the Middle East)."
Speaking at global conference of political and business leaders in Cernobbio, Italy, Cheney lambasted Moscow's policies using pointedly harsh rhetoric.
"Russia has sold advanced weapons to the regimes in Syria and Iran. Some of the Russian weapons sold to Damascus have been channeled to terrorist fighters in Lebanon and Iraq," said Cheney.
The vice president later met in private with President Shimon Peres on the sidelines of the conference. Cheney added that Moscow was selling the arms to Iran and Syria knowing full-well it is intended for Hizbullah and the terror organizations in Iraq, Peres' aides said.