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Russian Military Will Not Intervene In Iran Military Chief

Despite US concerns, Russia will go ahead with fulfilling an order by Iran for a consignment of Tor-M1 mobile air defence systems.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Apr 20, 2006
Russia's military will not intervene on one side or the other should the current Iran crisis lead to an armed conflict, the chief of the Russian general staff said Wednesday.

"You are asking which side Russia will take. Of course Russia will not, at least I as head of the general staff, suggest the use of force on one side or the other. Just as was the case in Afghanistan," General Yury Baluevsky told reporters, referring to the 2001 US-led intervention to oust the Taliban.

The general, who heads the Russian armed forces, stressed that he did not think a military scenario was likely in relation to Iran and said that diplomacy was "the proper course".

"In my view a military solution to the Iranian problem would be a political and military mistake," Baluevsky said.

He also confirmed that Russia planned to go ahead with fulfilling an order by Iran for a consignment of Tor-M1 mobile air defence systems -- despite US concerns about the deal.

"I am absolutely sure that it will be delivered, in accordance with international norms on non-proliferation," he said.

Baluevsky is known for his hawkish position with regard to the United States. In December he accused Washington of "double standards" in its policies towards Iran and North Korea, saying it had closed its eyes to Israel's nuclear arsenal.

His comments on Wednesday came as the Iran issue continued to overshadow talks in Moscow among leaders of the Group of Eight rich nations.

Iran also sent a high-ranking delegation to Moscow for talks amid renewed efforts to resolve the mounting international crisis.

Iran insists its nuclear programme is purely for civilian energy generation, but the West, led by the United States, suspects the programme is a cover for developing nuclear weapons.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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US Demands End To Russia-Iran Nuclear Cooperation
Moscow (AFP) Apr 20, 2006
The United States demanded Wednesday an end to Russia's cooperation with Iran in building the Islamic republic's first civilian nuclear power station and also suggested halting a sale of Russian missiles.

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