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Bush To Confront Russia On Aiding Iran

Bush To Confront Russia On Aiding Iran

When President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in St. Petersburg, Russia May 30 prior to the G-8 summit in France, the two leaders are expected to discuss Russia's alleged assistance to Iran's nuclear program.

"This has been a matter that we have talked with the Russians about," White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said May 28. "They are looking at this, and have made some new statements about this which are welcome. And I anticipate that some of that may be talked about."

Russia has provided aid to Iran for the completion of its nuclear fuel cycle program "has been a matter of some dispute between the United States and Russia," Fleischer had previously said May 27.

"We have repeatedly raised with Russian officials at the highest levels, including President Bush with President Putin, our desire to see Russia end all nuclear cooperation with Iran," he added.

He said Russia joins the United States in supporting the International Atomic Energy Agency's ongoing inspections of Iran's nuclear program and looks forward to the full report from the IAEA director-general in June.

Fleischer cited a statement May 28 released by the Russian Foreign Ministry which "expressed 'concern over the existence of serious, unclarified issues in connection with nuclear research in Iran,' and pointed to the need for 'an exhaustive discussion of that problem by the IAEA Board of Governors in June and early signing of additional protocol to the agreement on IAEA safeguards.'"

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