March 20, 2007

Russia gives Iran ultimatum on enrichment

Hmmm, this is odd considering the somewhat close relationship Russia has with Iran, but, money always did influence political relationships. From the NY Times:

Russia has informed Iran that it will withhold nuclear fuel for Iran’s nearly completed Bushehr power plant unless Iran suspends its uranium enrichment as demanded by the United Nations Security Council, European, American and Iranian officials said.

The ultimatum was delivered in Moscow last week by Igor Ivanov, Russia’s Security Council Secretary, to Ali Hosseini Tash, Iran’s deputy chief nuclear negotiator, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because a confidential diplomatic exchange between two governments was involved.

For years, President Bush has been pressing President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to cut off help to Iran on the nuclear reactor, which is Tehran’s first serious effort to produce nuclear energy and has been highly profitable for Russia. But Mr. Putin has resisted.

Recently, however, Moscow and Tehran have been engaged in a public argument about whether Iran has paid its bills, in a dispute that may explain Russia’s apparent shift. The ultimatum
may also reflect Moscow’s increasing displeasure and frustration with Iran over its refusal to stop enriching uranium at its vast facility at Natanz.