Iran’s ambassador to Russia has protested charges made last week by Russian president Boris Yeltsin that Teheran maintains links with Chechen rebels, the Iranian news agency IRNA reported February 17. Yeltsin had said that Chechen rebels were "trained in Turkey, Iran, and other countries," but provided no details. In responding to the protest, Russian Foreign Ministry officials denied that the Ministry or Russian intelligence agencies had provided Yeltsin with any such information, IRNA said. Relations between Iran and Russia have generally been friendly, and Teheran has characterized the conflict in Chechnya as strictly a domestic Russian affair. Yeltsin nevertheless charged January 15 that mercenaries from Iran and Pakistan were among the Chechen troops battling federal forces in Pervomaiskoye, Dagestan. Iran and Pakistan denied the charge. On that occasion also Russian Foreign Ministry officials were reported to have said that there was no evidence indicating the presence of foreign mercenaries in the fighting. (see Monitor, January 17)
Moscow’s Ambiguity Encourages Abkhaz Intransigence.