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. Moscow denies Russian role in alleged Iran missile deal
MOSCOW (AFP) Oct 17, 2005
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov denied Monday a British newspaper report alleging that former members of the Russian military have been secretly helping Iran to make missiles capable of hitting European capitals.

"It's delirium, nonsense," said Ivanov, questioned by journalists in New Delhi, where he was attending joint Russian-Indian military exercises.

Russia aims "to observe scrupulously the non-proliferation regime," Interfax and RIA-Novosti news agencies quoted Ivanov as saying in response to a report in Britain's Sunday Telegraph.

Russian Foreign Minister Serguei Lavrov also rejected the report's allegations on Monday.

"There were already these kind of articles around ten years ago, and I have not heard about interrogations on this subject since then," Lavrov told journalists in Moscow.

The Russian foreign minister urged cooperation towards "a common goal of ensuring the inviolability of the non-proliferation regime of nuclear weapons" instead of "searching through history to try to gain political advantages."

"Today, one of the most acute problems is the Iranian nuclear programme," Lavrov said. "If we look at history, here there are more questions to ask Western companies."

The Sunday Telegraph quoted unnamed Western intelligence officials as saying the Russians were middlemen in a multi-million-dollar (-euro) deal on secret missile technology negotiated between Iran and North Korea in 2003.

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