|SLUG: 2-269765 Russia - U-S - Iran (L-O)||DATE:||NOTE NUMBER:|
TITLE=RUSSIA / U-S / IRAN (L-O)
INTRO: Officials from the United States and Russia are to meet next week in Moscow to discuss Washington's concerns over a possible resumption of Russian weapons sales to Iran. Larry James reports from Moscow.
TEXT: The agreement to hold talks on Moscow's plans to resume selling weapons to Iran was reached by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. They met Monday at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe conference in Vienna.
Russia recently notified the United States that it is planning to resume military cooperation with Iran, thus backing out of a non-binding 1995 agreement with the United States. Washington had hoped the agreement would end Russian arms sales to Iran as well as certain other so-called "rogue" states.
Senior foreign ministry officials in Moscow say they are canceling the arrangement because of what they termed positive changes in Iran. They also say they believe the United States violated the accord by leaking details of it to the press.
Foreign Minister Ivanov says Moscow has not yet signed any new arms contracts with Iran. He also criticized the United States for using outmoded tactics, what he termed - the language of the past - in warning sanctions might be imposed on Russia if it goes ahead.
Mr. Ivanov said Russia does not feel constrained by any special obligations that are not international obligations. The Russian Defense Ministry insists that it will not supply any weapons or systems that are capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction to Iran.
Vice President Al Gore and then-Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin negotiated the 1995 agreement between the two countries.
U-S officials say they do not expect Russia to rescind its decision to withdraw from the agreement, but the experts who are expected to meet next week will try to work out proposals that address American concerns. (SIGNED)