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Taken Questions
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 23, 2002
Question Taken at the October 22 Daily Press Briefing

Russia-Iran Incentives

Question:   What can we say about reports that we have offered economic incentives to Russia in return for their stopping work on the nuclear reactor in Iran and Bushehr?

Answer:   Iran is aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons, as well as other weapons of mass destruction, long-range missiles and advanced conventional weapons. The U.S. position is clear: a weapons of mass destruction-armed Iran would be a major threat, to Russia as well as to the United States and our friends and allies in the region.

We are deeply concerned that Russian entities continue to provide important assistance to Iran's weapons of mass destruction and missile delivery programs. President Putin has said that he shares our concerns but the Russians have denied that they are helping Iran with its weapons of mass destruction and missile programs.

We will continue to intensively work this issue closely at senior levels with Russia.

An end to Russian proliferation to Iran would allow the United States and Russia to reap the full promise of our new strategic relationship. That would benefit Russia economically, politically and strategically far more than any short-term gain from sensitive transfers to Iran.

One example is the potential transfer to Russia for storage of spent reactor fuel currently held by third countries, much of which requires US approval for such transfer because the US originally supplied the fresh fuel to those countries. If the Russians end their sensitive cooperation with Iran, we have indicated we would be prepared to favorably consider such transfers, an arrangement potentially worth over $10 billion to Moscow.


Released on October 23, 2002

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