Russia to Strengthen Support for Iran

Sources said that Russia plans to help Iran in its nuclear enrichment program in response to the US assistance for re-arming Georgia under the veil of their so-called humanitarian aid.

Such an action from Moscow's side will heighten the ongoing political crisis in the Caucasus and Central Asian region as well.

The director of the Special Orders Department of the Russian state armaments company Abarounexport underlined that technical and military cooperation with Iran will continue.

According to the Ria-Novosti, Mikhail Zavali, who was visiting Russia international aviation exhibition on Friday, said, "Russia will continue its cooperation with Iran on technical, military and energy issues in spite of the US opposition."

He said, "We have invested a lot in the country and there exists a good outlook for Russian presence in Iran, so we are to take profit from our investment and we do not care about other countries' view on the issue."

Meantime, top intelligence officials from Iran and Russia have agreed to boost bilateral ties in their fight against terrorism and extremism.

Iran's Intelligence Minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie on Friday met with the new head of Russian Federal Security Service, Alexander Bortnikov.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed mutual extensive cooperation for information and intelligence sharing, the Iranian Embassy in Russia said on Friday.

Ejeie told Bortnikov that the requisite for such cooperation is regular exchange of meetings and views.

No more information on the meeting is available.

According to a reliable source close to the Russian military, Moscow did not tolerate the American influence in the Central Asian region. The arrival of US naval ships with humanitarian aid to the Georgian port, 'Poti' in the last week, which is also partly held by the Russian armed forces, has irked Kremlin. Apart from that, the US also tried to increase its influence over Ukraine and Azerbaijan, thereby creating extra pressure over Kremlin.

The hostilities between Russia and Georgia ended at least two weeks ago. Since then, the United States has been trying to place the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces in the region and sending naval ships to the area with some 'emergency supplies'. Even, the Bush administration also promised lump sum amounts in order to rebuild Georgian military forces. The same was expressed by Dick Chenney, the US vice president during his tour to Georgia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan in the last week.

Kremlin strongly voiced protest against the presence of the American warships in the Black Sea region. The Kremlin also asked if the Russian ships had been at the American coast, what would be America's action then?

Cheney mentioned Russia's recent action as "illegitimate, unilateral attempt" for declaring the two disputed provinces - South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. Even, Cheney fully assured Georgian President, Mikhail Saakashvili regarding their inclusion in the NATO very soon. The White House also declared an amount of $1 billion commitment to help Georgia, the small, but strategically located nation as an emergency aid.

Dick Cheney also had a talk with the Italian foreign minister, Franco Frattini on Sunday (September 7) in his quest to build a strong union between Europe and Washington over the Georgian crisis. Americans have clearly understood that the Caucasus crisis cannot be solved without the help of the European Union (EU). EU is highly dependent on Russia for oil and gas. Each year, EU countries import 30 per cent oil and 40 per cent natural gas from Russia.

[Source: Fars News Agency, Tehran, 08Sep08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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