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8 Jun, 2010 11:50

Solution on Iranian nuke program should fit all sides – Putin

The Russian Premier has said that the UN resolution on the Iranian nuclear problem must not block the way for the republic’s peaceful atomic program. Putin has also called on Tehran to cooperate.

“We have worked a great deal and we believe that the resolution has been practically agreed on,” Putin said as quoted by Itar-Tass. “We maintain that the forthcoming decisions must not be excessive ones. Nor must they put the Iranian people in a dubious position, make them faced with obstructions on the way towards civilian nuclear power,” he added.

Vladimir Putin has urged Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to cooperate with the international community in order to ease concerns over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

The situation should be settled “solely through constructive talks involving all parties concerned and honoring the interests of every participant of the process,” he said at the summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) which is currently underway in Istanbul.

President Ahmadinejad “has just said that he is pessimistic over the future,” he said. At the same time, Putin went on, “despite existing problems, cooperation is developing.”

Putin said that Russia is completing the construction of an atomic power plant in the Iranian town of Bushehr and “it will be launched in August.”

“At the same time, we believe that we all should work together to allay all concerns over all the aspects of the nature of the Iranian nuclear program with the most active role of the Iranian side,” he stressed. “If we respect each other's interests, we will be able to look into the future with optimism,” the Russian premier added.

Earlier, the head of Russia's Rosatom nuclear power corporation Sergey Kirienko said Russia and Iran will establish a joint venture to operate the Bushehr nuclear power plant – the first one in the Islamic Republic.

“Since [Iran] is only taking the path of using atomic energy for civilian purposes and has not got enough experience in exploiting such objects, we have agreed that our specialists will be working within the joint company,” he said as quoted by Interfax. According to Kirienko, for several years both Russian and Iranian personnel will be operating at the station.

Afghan drugs – global threat

Speaking at the forum in Turkey, the Russian Prime Minister said, “Unfortunately, the situation in the [Asian] region is not becoming stable.”

In addition to long-term conflicts, he said, new cross-border risks have emerged: extremism, terrorism, the threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, drug-related crimes, and sea piracy. All those risks, Putin said, “Interlace, creating instability and tensions.”

What adds to instability, according to the prime minister, is the situation on the Afghani-Pakistani border.

“International terrorist groups who get considerable financial feeding from drug [trafficking] have settled here,” Putin said. ”I would like to underline that the problem of production and smuggling of Afghan drugs has ceased to be a regional problem and turned into a global threat,” he went on. According to the UN estimations, “the world has lost almost half a million of human lives because of Afghan opium and heroin.”

It is unlikely that uncoordinated counter-measures will bring any noticeable results, Putin said.

“I believe this problem is so serious that it requires special consideration within the UN Security Council,” the Russian prime minister said.

Putin also added that a lot can be done within the framework of the CICA summit.

CICA is a multi-national forum for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia. Initiated by Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev in 1992, it is based on the recognition that there is close link between peace, security and stability in Asia and in the rest of the world. The CICA Member States include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Palestine, South Korea, Israel, Russia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Vietnam and Uzbekistan.

“Drug trafficking in Afghanistan may be the major threat to global security, especially for Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States,” Igor Khokhlov, from the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, told RT. “The amount of drugs has significantly increased since the start of American operation in Afghanistan nine years ago.”

However, the analyst said it is not that the US is reluctant to fight drug trafficking in Afghanistan. The reason is that NATO is facing multiple challenges in the region with drug trafficking not being among the priorities.

Khokhlov pointed out that Russia has been much more successful in its fight against drugs than its US or European colleagues. However, the drug problem in Russia is still acute because of the proximity of Afghanistan.

“We have a different problem. It is a problem of the geopolitical kind. Afghanistan is so close to us,” said Khokhlov. “Whatever we do in Russia we have to solve the problem in Afghanistan.”

“The Americans have never been concerned about drugs, not just in Afghanistan but also throughout the Cold War. The goal has really never been to reduce the drug consumption or drug production. It wasn’t the priority,” Julien Mercille, a lecturer from University College in Dublin, told RT.

“Up until 2005 in Afghanistan, it was also explicit policy not to care about drugs so that they would not do anything,” Mercille continued. “For the last 5 years or so there’s been more attention paid to drugs on the part of NATO and the US, but it’s still a minor factor in the overall strategy in Afghanistan.”

According to Mercille, there are a number of reasons why NATO benefits from drug trafficking in the region. One of them is using it as a pretext for justifying military action in Afghanistan as a war on drugs.