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Wednesday, 6 December, 2000, 00:18 GMT
US warns on Iran arms plan
Russian bombers
The US does not want Russian arms to go to Tehran
The US has gone on the offensive in its efforts to curb Russian arms sales to Iran, with US Defence Secretary William Cohen meeting his Russian counterpart in Brussels on Wednesday as a State Department delegation heads to Moscow.

Russia told the US at the end of November that it was ending its five-year-old undertaking not to sell conventional weapons to Iran.

US Defence Secretary William Cohen
Mr Cohen is to meet Mr Sergeyev on the sidelines of a Nato conference
Russia's balance sheet stands to gain from military sales to Iran, a Russian parliamentarian said on Monday.

"Military cooperation, including the training of military specialists, could generate between two and seven billion dollars over the next few years, which is very lucrative for Russia", said Andrei Nikolayev, who heads Russia's parliamentary commission on defence.

Mr Nikolayev said that Russia would respect accords banning the sale of nuclear arms.

US opposed

But the US is eager to stop even conventional arms sales to Iran. Russia agreed in 1995 to halt such sales in a deal arranged by Vice-President Al Gore.

A delegation of US State Department arms control negotiators leaves for Moscow on Wednesday, following an agreement between US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.

Russian Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev
Defence Minister Sergeyev is going to Tehran
A State Department spokesman said on Monday that no new arms deals had been signed between Russia and Iran since Russia announced its new policy.

But the Iranian foreign ministry announced the same day that Russian Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev was planning to visit Iran some time in the next month.

Officials on both sides said the two countries had common interests in Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

Moscow and Tehran are both reportedly supporting Afghan forces fighting the Taleban regime.

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05 Sep 00 | Talking Point
Is Russia still a superpower?
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