Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 49

International terrorism was on the agenda yesterday during talks in Moscow between top Russian leaders and visiting Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati. Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov, a Middle East specialist, pointedly backed Tehran’s claim that it was involved neither in international terrorism in general, nor had any "specific" connection to recent bloody attacks in Israel. "I must say that I am inspired by the position of my Iranian colleague, who considers that the fight against [terrorism] must be stepped up and that terrorist actions against civilians are illegal and must be excluded from international life," Primakov said. Velayati also met with Russian president Boris Yeltsin, who drew attention to what he described as terrorist acts by Chechen rebels and to the foreign support that Moscow believes they receive from Islamic states. But Yeltsin reportedly made a "positive assessment" of Iran’s own stance toward the Chechen conflict. (4)

Yeltsin’s remarks yesterday were inconsistent with others made earlier. On January 15 the Russian president had charged that Iranian and Pakistani mercenaries were among the Chechen rebels battling federal troops at Pervomaiskoye in Dagestan. Tehran denied the charges and Russian Foreign Ministry officials later suggested that, in fact, they had no evidence of Iranian involvement. (See Monitor, January 17) One month later Iran’s ambassador to Russia lodged a similar protest following a statement by Yeltsin that Chechen rebels were "trained in Turkey, Iran, and other countries." Against Yeltsin provided no substantiation. In general, however, Moscow and Tehran have enjoyed increasingly friendly relations. In a move especially irksome to Washington, Russia has insisted on completing construction of a nuclear power plant in Iran that Washington vehemently opposes.

Communists Said Planning Modest Nationalization.