Russia's and U.S. Foreign Policy Chiefs on Future Relations with Iran

The United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she hoped that Russia will help prevent Iran becoming a nuclear state. She believes Russia can provide substantial assistance for the international community trying to persuade Iran to abandon nuclear arms development.

Yesterday after negotiations between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov a press-conference was held. Lavrov, inter alia, stated: "We looked at the situation with nuclear weapons nonproliferation, including as it applies to Iran and to the issue of the Korean peninsula. I am confident that in the near future we will try and arrive at some agreements, some results which would enable us to bring closer political and diplomatic solution to such things within the frameworks of the existing political and diplomatic channels and formats. We have noted the special importance of the Nonproliferation Treaty and agreed to interact in the context of the forthcoming (inaudible) conference in 2010.We also remembered that some time ago, on the initiative of Russia and the United States, the Security Council adopted an important resolution on prevention of nuclear weapons and materials finding their ways into the hands of nongovernment entities. We agreed that that would be our common initiative and will continue to be of special importance and priority for us. We will continue our bilateral steps to strengthen this regime within the Security Council. We have launched a number of common initiatives which still valued, are dealing with threat of nuclear terrorism. We have specific agreements here on how do we jointly work towards a more consolidated position of the global community."

In his statement at the Conference on Disarmament held on March 7, 2009 Lavrov said: "IAEA verification activities need to be made more effective. The Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreement, ratified by Russia in 2007, is an efficient tool of enhancing IAEA capacities in this field. We call on all countries to become parties to it." Lavrov added that in the future the Additional Protocol "is to become a universally accepted standard - to verify the compliance of States with their NPT non-proliferation obligations and a new major standard in the field of nuclear exports." The Russian Foreign Minister also called for the Middle East to be made "a nuclear weapons-free zone" and, eventually, "a zone free from all other types of weapons of mass destruction." According to his view, a new American Administration has changed the situation in the sphere of disarmament.

"There is a growing understanding of the need for real collective steps on reducing tensions and creating new limitations in existing regimes in relation to nuclear weapons and preventing proliferation of mass destruction weapons and their components among nongovernmental players," stressed Russian Foreign Minister. According to Lavrov, "accumulation of all these factors, in my view, creates this positive critical mass that will hopefully lead to a specific decision providing disarmament progress."