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Jan 11, 2005
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Russian Ambassador to Iran on Nuclear Cooperation between Moscow and Tehran

#482 | 06:30
Source: IRIB/ Jaam-E-Jam2 TV (Iran)

The following are excerpts from an interview with Russian ambassador to Iran Alexander Maryasov on Jaam-E-Jam TV that aired on January 11, 2005. The interview was conducted in Farsi:

Maryasov: Russia is the first and only country that has consented to Iran's request to build this nuclear power plant [in Bushehr]. The other countries did nothing but talk. We are actually doing it. Regarding what has been said about the delay in completing the power plant and so on - this matter has its reasons. These reasons are technical and not at all political. Some claim that under pressure from America and other countries, Russia is delaying the project. This is not true. It's baseless.

Host: Many believe that what we paid you for the Bushehr power plant is much more than the regular price. You repeatedly raised the price under various pretexts. I don't know how much we've paid so far, maybe $3 billion… $2.5 billion…

Maryasov: I believe this is a mistake.

Host: Could you please clarify?

Maryasov: The price was determined in advance. When the contract was signed, the price of the power plant was determined.

Host: But the Russians discussed the price three times, and each time, they raised the price.

Maryasov: I don't think the price we suggested is higher than the price other countries would have offered. I don't think our price is higher than those offers. But no one else made an offer.

Host: Exactly. Since no other country made an offer, you took advantage of your position as a sole party…

Maryasov: I don't think this is true. These are reasonable prices, and are by no means higher than what is acceptable.

Host: Are the Russians, with the trump card of the Bushehr power plant, toying with us and the Americans? The situation suggests that this is exactly what is happening.

Maryasov: Rest assured that we're not playing games. You may rest assured. There are certain circles that wished to portray our actions as if we were playing games. We are not. When we signed the contract in 1992, we did anticipate have to take the fuel back [to Russia]. Later on, we accepted all the international treaties and legislated a law in Russia. According to this law of ours, all the fuel we gave for nuclear plants in other countries would be returned to us. Therefore, we agreed with the Iranians that the fuel would be returned to us. We have no political problem. The Iranians have agreed to this. The other issue is the price. The negotiations about the price continue. The minute the Iranians agree to pay the sum we've proposed, the contract will be signed the next day. There is no problem.

Host: It seems that our relations would have been better without this power plant.

Maryasov: I don't think so. Building such a power plant is not a simple task, especially in light of Iran's circumstances. I am referring to Iran's nuclear program. Some countries are concerned that Iran's nuclear program has purposes that are not peaceful. There are concerns in the world in this respect. Therefore, building a nuclear power plant is a delicate issue. But as far as we're concerned, there is no problem – technical or financial. There are only the technical problems I mentioned earlier. There is no underlying political scheme here. This I tell you with absolute certainty. Obviously, we welcome cooperation between Iran and other countries. We are interested in Iran cooperating with other countries - not only with us - so you can address your criticism at other countries as well.

Host: Why?

Maryasov: We believe that we should not have a monopoly. If other countries agree to cooperate, we will welcome it.

Host: You're bluffing!

Maryasov: Not at all! I said that all the countries made promises to you but did nothing. Russia was the only one that started building the Bushehr power plant. Where are the Germans? Where are the French? Who else do we have… Where are the Americans? We are the ones building your power plant. Russia! We are doing this in spite of the pressure on us.

Host: Care to explain?

Maryasov: You say there is a lot of pressure. That is true. I confirm it. There is political pressure, but despite that, we continue to build the power plant. If this pressure was indeed intense and effective, we could have packed up and returned to Russia the following day. We are not doing that. We are continuing our work.

Host: Why didn't Russia - in the [last] meeting of the IAEA board of governors - support the positions of Iran and of the non-aligned states against the Americans?

Maryasov: Yes we did… We most definitely did. The resolution that was approved…

Host: The Russians had nothing to do with that…

Maryasov: Wrong! They were very involved. The Russians played an important part. Just as we did during previous board meetings. We put in a lot of effort. We have closely cooperated with the Iranians and with the Iranian negotiating team. The same thing happened this time. The fact that this resolution does not mention the transferring of Iran's dossier to the Security Council – Russia played a part in that too. We insisted on it. We defended your position.

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