Days after two top Russian officials reiterated Moscow’s intention to defy Washington and proceed with the construction of a nuclear power plant in Iran (see Monitor, April 12), an advisor to Boris Yeltsin has warned against providing nuclear technology to a country only 200 miles from the Russian border. Aleksei Yablokov, head of the Russian Security Council’s interdepartmental commission for ecological safety, said yesterday that the training of Iranian nuclear specialists could further Tehran’s progress toward the making of its own nuclear arms and might result in a violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. He also called it "strange" that Iran, a "nation with huge stocks of oil and gas," should decide to build a nuclear facility. Yablokov said that his commission had communicated its concerns to President Boris Yeltsin, but that the views of Atomic Energy Minister Viktor Mikhailov, a strong advocate of the sale, had prevailed. (Interfax, April 15) Yablokov’s voice has been among the few in Russia raised against the $800 million deal.
Meanwhile, an Atomic Energy Ministry spokesman said yesterday that the Iranian reactor would not be on the agenda for discussion at the upcoming nuclear security summit, although it might arise during bilateral talks between the U.S. and Russian presidents April 21. Georgy Kaurov also brusquely dismissed U.S. objections to the sale, declaring "What is there to discuss?… The American government is against the contract. That’s their problem." (UPI, April 15)
Concern Over Cossack Revival.