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posted on 03/12/2004 11:33:06 AM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Polling starts for Russian presidential elections in Iraq, Iran
Moscow, Mar 12 (UNI) Polling for the Russian presidential elections has started ahead of time for the Russian expatriates in Iraq and Iran.
There are a total of about 1350 Russians in the two country, of which about 350 are in Iraq and the rest in Iran.
A polling station opened in Baghdad at 0800 hrs (local time) today for the Russian citizens, RIA Novosti quoted the counsellor of the Russian embassy in Iraq Alexei Solomatin, who is also chairman of the election commission there, as saying.
The polling station within the Russian consulate in Baghdad will cater to the 350 Russians in the country. About 150 of them are Russian construction workers who are building the power station in the Yousefiah settlement, 30 km to the south of Baghdad. They will vote at their place of work for security reasons.
The two-member election commission has already left for Yousefiah, he said.
The polling station in Baghdad will be opened till 2000 hrs today, Mr Solomatin said, but added that taking into account the difficult security situation in Iraq, it is expected that the voting in Baghdad will end in the first half of the day.
Polling stations in Iran also opened at 0800 hrs (local time) for the 1,000 Russian citizens in the country.
''In accordance with the resolution of the Russian Central Election Commission the elections of the Russian president will be held in Iran on Friday since it is a day-off and everybody will have time to vote,'' the agency quoted the chairman of the Teheran district polling station, counsellor-envoy of the Russian Federation embassy Mikhail Pashkov as saying.
About 1,000 Russian citizens will be able to vote at four polling stations, situated in the Russian embassy in Teheran, in Bushehr residential district where builders of the atomic power plant live, in Isfahan on the territory of the general consulate and in Meshed, where a large group of Russian pilots work on contract, he added.
The Russian presidential elections, expected to comfortably won by incumbent Vladimir Putin, are scheduled for the coming Sunday. http://www.deepikaglobal.com/latestnews.asp?ncode=13721
Iran warns it may quit cooperating with nuke agency
Defense minister reveals military involved in producing parts for nuclear program
2004-03-12 / Associated Press /
Iran said Wednesday it would resume uranium enrichment and warned it may quit cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency, which it accused of kowtowing to the United States at a crucial meeting in Vienna.
Separately, Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani told reporters the Iranian military had built nuclear centrifuges for civilian use - the first time Iran has acknowledged its military was involved in the country's nuclear program.
In Vienna, the 35-nation board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency prepared for a debate on Iran's declared commitment to full transparency on its nuclear program.
The United States, which suspects Iran is building nuclear arms, wants a draft resolution on Iran to take a tough line because of evidence of secrecy. But the Europeans want to acknowledge that Iran has made substantial, if not complete, steps toward openness.
The draft that was obtained by The Associated Press said the agency noted "with the most serious concern" that Iran's declarations "did not amount to the correct, complete and final picture of Iran's past and present nuclear program." But it also praised Iran for signing an agreement that granted a free hand to IAEA inspectors.
Iran regarded the draft unsatisfactory. Iran's chief delegate to the IAEA, Pirouz Hosseini, told reporters outside the meeting that the U.S. was pressurizing the Europeans to harden the resolution.
"We have never been involved in any nuclear weapons program ... and the Americans don't want to accept the fact," Hosseini said.
In Tehran, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi accused the world body of failing to reciprocate.
"We told (IAEA) that cooperation should be bilateral. We take steps and expect the other side to take steps. It can't go one-sided," Kharrazi said.
Kharrazi warned Britain, France and Germany - whose foreign ministers visited Tehran last year to discuss the nuclear issue - that Iran will stop cooperating with them if they fail to resist U.S. pressure at the Vienna meeting.
"We recommend that the three European countries remain committed to their obligations (toward Tehran) and resist U.S. pressure, if they want the project of cooperation between Iran and them to lead to results," Kharrazi said. "Cooperation is a two-way street."
Kharrazi said Iran had a "legitimate right to enrich uranium" as fuel for the nuclear reactor it is building to generate electrical power.
"We suspended uranium enrichment voluntarily and temporarily. Later, when our relations with the IAEA return to normal, we will definitely resume (uranium) enrichment," Kharrazi said.
But the head of IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, warned Wednesday that if Iran went back on last year's suspension of enrichment, it would hurt its campaign to convince the world that its nuclear intentions were peaceful.
"I think suspension is ... a good confidence-building measure, and Iran needs to do everything possible right now to create the confidence required," ElBaradei said in Vienna.
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