Digest

Russia 'alarmed' by Iran's lack of cooperation with IAEA

Saturday, February 20, 2010

RUSSIA

Iran is challenged to cooperate with IAEA

Russia said Friday that it was "very alarmed" by Iran's failure to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, after the U.N. nuclear watchdog said it feared Tehran might be working to develop a nuclear-armed missile.

Iran has insisted its nuclear program is peaceful. But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov indicated Moscow's patience was wearing thin. "We are very alarmed, and we cannot accept this, that Iran is refusing to cooperate with the IAEA," he said.

"For about 20 years, the Iranian leadership carried out its clandestine nuclear program without reporting it to the IAEA," he said. "I do not understand why there was such secrecy."

On Thursday, the IAEA made public its concerns over a classified analysis that concludes that Iran already has explosives expertise relevant to a workable nuclear weapon.

"Some questions remain on the table and Iran has so far not reacted to them, but they are rather serious and we need to understand how several documents concerning military nuclear technology found their way to Iran," Lavrov said. "Clear explanations are needed."

Russia -- which wields a veto in the U.N. Security Council -- has recently raised suspicions publicly about Iran's nuclear activities, after saying for years that it had no evidence Tehran was seeking to build a nuclear bomb.

-- Reuters

NIGER

Junta names new leader of country

A junta that seized power in a coup in the West African nation of Niger named a squadron chief as its leader Friday, hours after soldiers announced on state TV that their group was in charge of the uranium-rich country.


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