Putin: We will continue to
cooperate with Iran
Putin's comments came a day after the Group of Eight (G8) leaders issued a final summit statement on Monday. The leaders had demanded that Iran and North Korea's nuclear programmes submit to international nuclear safeguards.

“Iran is our neighbor, we cooperate with it and we will continue to cooperate,” Putin said at the G8 summit in the French city of Evian.

 

“In parallel, we will insist that all Iran’s nuclear programmes remain under the control of the IAEA,” he said in reference to the International Atomic Energy Agency, a UN nuclear watchdog.

 

Russia is helping Iran construct a nuclear plant in the southern city of Bushehr and has dismissed US concerns that its assistance could lead to the building of an Iranian atomic bomb.


On Monday, a senior British official told the BBC that Putin told other G8 leaders that his country would halt “all nuclear exports” until Iran signed up to a tougher protocol of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

Iran has come under intense pressure from the United States, which accuses the Islamic republic of developing a nuclear weapons programme.

Iran maintains that its nuclear ambitions are for peaceful purposes only and intended to generate electricity to meet the growing demands of its population, now 65 million.

The US also accuses Iran of sheltering al-Qaeda members, supporting groups designated as terrorist by the US, and encouraging the majority Shia population in Iraq to reject US-led occupation forces there.

Internal debate

Such accusations have led Iran’s reformist and conservative camps to plunge into an argument about how to face mounting pressure on their country.

Pro-reform parties argue that the way to save Iran and the Islamic regime “is not by military force, tanks and artillery”, a recent statement said.

Saving Iran, it continued, will take place by removing “all obstacles to the legitimate demands for greater liberty and justice”.

On the other hand, some conservative newspapers have accused reformist groups of collaborating with the United States.

The Javian newspaper has alleged that certain reformist figures have “secretly met CIA chiefs in the Gulf” to co-ordinate action against the regime.

Such arguments follow talks in US circles that the Pentagon is pushing for a new strategy towards Iran that would destabilize the clerical rule there.