- (AFP) - Russia's upper house of parliament Wednesday
unanimously ratified a new partnership treaty with Iran which includes
cooperating in developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
- "Iran remains a strategic partner of Russia,"
said Mikhail Margelov, head of the foreign affairs committee of the
Council, following the vote by 127 senators.
- The Duma or lower house ratified the treaty last week
in a near-unanimous vote.
- Intrernational concern has risen in recent months in
the United States over military links between the two countries,
over Russia's controversial construction of Iran's Bushehr nuclear power
- The United States and Israel fear that Iran could acquire
nuclear arms technology through its partnership with Moscow. Russia,
has tried to dismiss these fears.
- "Russia will continue construction of the Iranian
nuclear power station at Bushehr, and will also develop joint space
Margelov told AFP.
- Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov said last
week Russia's involvement in the Bushehr plant marked a "symbol of
the new stage of cooperation" between the two countries.
- On October 2, Moscow and Tehran also signed a military
cooperation agreement in a deal that, according to estimates, could bring
Russia around 400 million dollars in sales of its medium-range air defense
systems and other arms.
- Russia last year scrapped an agreement with the United
States barring future arms sales to Iran.
- Losyukov told the State Duma after last week's vote on
the new cooperation treaty that relations between Moscow and Tehran had
entered a new era following Iranian President Mohammad Khatami's visit
to Moscow in March.
- "The key areas of our cooperation will be in the
military-technological sphere and the peaceful use of the nuclear
Losyukov said moments before the Duma ratified the treaty, signed by
and President Vladimir Putin on March 12.
- The new coperation treaty commits Russia and Iran not
to use force or the threat of force against each other, and to prevent
either country being used to harbour "aggression, subversive or
acts against the other."
- "The previous treaty signed by Iran and the USSR
in 1940 envisaged Soviet troops entering Iranian territory if Iran's
was threatened," Meregelov said Wednesday, adding: "This
has been eliminated in the new treaty."
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