Hardly a day passes without a mention of Iran’s nuclear problem in the world press, and President Dmitry Medvedev talked about it in his speech at the Davos World Economic Forum.
According to President Medvedev, there is no information confirming or debunking the allegation that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon, and hence Tehran should clear the air about the real nature of its nuclear programme. Mr. Medvedevs has said that he recently discussed the matter with the Iranian head of state, Mahmud Ahmadinejad ,and that the latter agreed that it was necessary to clear the air.
The Iran nuclear reactor is an important component of the international discussion of Tehran’s nuclear programme, albeit not a major one. Until recently, it seemed that the issue had been resolved- about two years ago, an international system for the supply of fuel to the reactor had been agreed, under which Tehran was to exchange 1,200 kg of its low grade enriched uranium for nuclear fuel to be jointly supplied by Russia and France.
The plan fell through because Tehran demanded that Brazil and Turkey serve as guarantors. Everything appeared to have fallen in place and the fuel exchange was to take place in Turkey. However, Tehran immediately made fresh demands; the Iranian envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA Ali Asgar Soltaniye, a few days ago said that French participation in the scheme was unnecessary, saying that Iran is ready to sign an agreement , but only with Russia. But he has however accused Moscow of feet dragging over negotiations. VOR asked Professor Vladimir Sazhin, an expert on Iran affairs to comment on the issue.
"Russia would have deeply been honoured by the proposal, but it is an important participant in the many years’ negotiations on the difficult Iranian nuclear problem. Russia is a member of the 6 international mediators as well as the Vienna group consisting apart from Russia, of the IAEA, the U.S. and France, the quartet that brokered the apparently successful reactor deal. It will therefore be unethical for Russia to hold separate talks with Iran on those same issues," said Sazhin.
Constantine Kosachev, the Chairman of the State Duma’s International Relations Committee shares the Professor’s opinion. He hailed the nuclear fuel exchange scheme worked out by the quartet, saying that an implementation of that scheme could help defuse the situation around the nuclear problem, substantially.