Interview with Russian Ambassador to Iran, Alexander Maryasov

August 9, 2001

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Unofficial translation from Russian

Question: In the Caspian there has flared up a fairly sharp conflict with the participation of Iran, relating to the unsettled status of the sea. Is a common attitude possible that will suit all the coastal states?

Answer: Among Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan there are some differences as to the definition of national sectors and who some or other deposits belong to. We are convinced that settlement is possible only on the basis of a direct dialogue in the spirit of good-neighborliness, mutual respect and trust. The Russian side is for the intensification of the negotiation process both in a bilateral and in a five-sided format.

Furthermore, Russia considers it necessary that five-sided agreements for the preservation and use of bioresources and protection of the Caspian environment should be concluded as a matter of priority, before the adoption of a convention on the status of the sea. This is particularly important in the light of the recent sharp exacerbation.

Question: What do you think are the most promising and top priority areas of cooperation with Iran?

Answer: The most promising areas are atomic energy, construction of heat and power supply stations, the oil and gas sector, aircraft manufacturing. A symbol of the new stage of relations is the Russian-aided construction of the first NPP in Iran. The construction of the first power unit at the Busher NPP has noticeably accelerated of late, although there are difficulties stemming from the need to adapt to the Russian technological design the equipment left over from the German Siemens firm. The deputy heads of the atomic energy agencies of the two countries regularly meet at the working site. Deliveries and installation of heavy equipment have begun. Russia is willing to participate in the plans to develop the nuclear power industry of Iran, and in the long run this could materialize in contracts for the construction of new NPPs. Cooperation with Iran, of course, is built with due regard for our international obligations on nuclear nonproliferation and in keeping with the norms and requirements of IAEA. In addition, negotiations are continuing on contracts for the construction of the heat-and-power station Tabas and development of the Mazino coal field in Iran, as well as for the design, manufacture and launching of a geostationary telecommunications satellite Zohre for civilian uses. Experts are working on the question of the manufacture in Iran of Tu-204 and Tu-334 planes, possibly with the participation in this project of the Indian side. Russian-Iranian-Indian cooperation on the creation of a North-South transport corridor has good prospects.

Question: At the end of last year Tehran and Moscow announced resumption of their military-technological cooperation, which caused the dissatisfaction of the USA.

Answer: The military-technological cooperation entirely complies with international norms and the obligations of Russia and we don't intend to violate them. Tehran does not seek any armaments that might be contrary to the obligations of Russia. The Iranian side has applied exclusively for armaments of a defensive character. With regard to Tehran there are no UN sanctions or embargo on the supply of armaments.

As a sovereign state Iran has a right to ensure its security and defense capability. Iran and Russia adhere to similar positions on one of the most acute regional problems - the Afghan one. Russia and Iran are concerned by the threats coming from the Taliban's Afghanistan, and our countries actively cooperate to prevent them both in a bilateral and in a multilateral format. Moscow and Tehran actively backed up the anti-Taliban sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council. We have declared the need to stop foreign interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, which will help to reduce the scale of the conflict, and with the vigorous mediatory role of the UN bring the parties there to a direct political dialogue. Its aim is to form an authoritative government with the participation of all religious, ethnic and political groups. Only in this way can the acute intra-Afghan problems be solved, and conditions provided for the restoration of peace, and revival of the economy and the political and state independence of Afghanistan.

Russia and Iran also cooperate on other regional problems. A valuable experience of cooperation on the restoration of peace and national reconciliation in Tajikistan has been accumulated. It can be used for the consolidation of stability in Central Asia as a whole. Russian-Iranian cooperation can play a positive role in Transcaucasia. Tehran has put forward the idea of convening a meeting of heads of security councils of the Transcaucasian states with the participation of Russia and Iran, but at the same time emphasizes that the countries of Transcaucasia must themselves, without external interference, solve their problems.