Russia Warns U.S. Against Striking Iran
By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV
02/16/06 "AP" -- -- Russia's top military chief on Thursday
warned the United States against launching a military strike
against Iran and a top diplomat voiced hope that close
cooperation with China could help resolve the Tehran nuclear
With tension mounting over Iran's nuclear programs, Gen. Yuri
Baluyevsky, the chief of Russia's general staff, warned the
United States against attacking Iran.
"A military scenario can't be ruled out," Baluyevsky was quoted
as saying by Russian news agencies.
He said that while Iran's military potential cannot compare to
the United States', "it is hard to predict how the Muslim world
will respond to the use of force against Iran."
"This may stir the whole world, and it is crucial to prevent
anything like that," Baluyevsky was quoted as saying.
Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alekseyev, meanwhile, said
that cooperation with China could help push Iran toward
accepting Moscow's offer to host Iran's uranium enrichment
The Russian proposal has become a centerpiece of international
efforts to defuse tensions over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
"We are counting on the continuation of close contacts with our
Chinese colleagues and other interested countries," Alekseyev
was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. He added,
however, that the Iranian nuclear issue recently had become
"sharper," and "it is too early to assess the effectiveness of
our joint steps to resolve it."
Iran's ambassador to Moscow said Thursday that Tehran hoped
Russia would be able to help resolve the international crisis
surrounding the Iranian nuclear program.
"Taking into account the good relations between Russia and Iran,
I hope that together we can overcome this crisis which has
arisen recently," Gholamreza Ansari said at a meeting with
Ansari confirmed that a delegation is expected to travel to
Moscow on Monday to discuss the proposal. He would not say who
will lead it, but the Interfax news agency quoted Vyacheslav
Moshkalo, a spokesman for the Russian embassy in Tehran, as
saying that the team will be headed by Javad Vaeidi, Iran's
deputy nuclear negotiator.
Konstantin Kosachev, the head of Russian parliament's foreign
affairs committee, said after his discussions with the
ambassador that he was satisfied that the Iranians would be
coming in good faith.
"Iran understands the seriousness of the situation and is ready
to continue discussions between experts to reach a compromise on
the Russian proposal," he said. He said he had received
assurances that "the delegation is getting ready for talks and
will have all the necessary authority for conducting
Kosachev also sharply criticized Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad's remarks in which he called for Israel's
destruction and questioned whether the Holocaust occurred.
"Such statements don't help strengthen Iran's international
prestige," he said with Ansari standing at his side.
A Western diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said
the strong international consensus developed so far, including
Russia, "is probably the strongest instrument we have going
right now in trying to influence Iranian behavior."
Moscow is deeply concerned about the current Iranian regime's
prospects for acquiring nuclear weapons, not only because Russia
is geographically located close to Iran, but also because of the
impact that could have on other Middle East players' nuclear
aspirations, including Saudi Arabia's, the diplomat said.
The diplomat also noted that by aspiring to a central role in
resolving the Iran crisis, Russia wanted to show that it could
use the contacts it has built up over the years - including
direct communications with the Iranians - to advance the
concerns of the international community.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press
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