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If the Government wants to stop Iran acquiring nuclear weapons it must scrap uranium deal with Russia - Greens

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 27 Jan 2012

The Australian Government must end uranium sales to Russia if it is serious about stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, the Australian Greens said today.

Greens spokesperson for nuclear affairs Senator Scott Ludlam said strongly-worded statements on Iran from Canberra rang hollow unless the government ends the sale of uranium to Iran's key nuclear partner - Russia.

"The Russian nuclear industry built Iran's Bushehr plant and continue to work with the Iranian regime closely. Recently Moscow expressed concerns about nuclear fuel enrichment in Iran but continue to be Iran's closest partner when it comes to nuclear power," said Senator Ludlam.

"In April last year the Russian state-run company Atomstroyexport was carrying out the reloading of nuclear fuel at Bushehr. Russia has a significant commercial interest in Iran's pursuit of nuclear technology and missile delivery systems.

"In 2008, CIA Director General Michael Hayden noted Russia's assistance with civil nuclear technology and Russian company transfers of ballistic missile hardware and know-how in the annual report on Weapons of Mass Destruction related acquisitions. A similar report from four years earlier indicated Iran's technological and material acquisitions from Russian companies aided Iran's development of intermediate range ballistic missiles and that ongoing Russian-Iranian trade have assisted Iran's local missile production capabilities. I'm not a huge fan of the work of the CIA - but this is what Washington's intelligence agency is saying, and while Canberra listens to everything else the US administration tells them it seems to be ignoring the clear role Russia has in Iran's nuclear ambitions."

In November 2010 Senator Ludlam condemned the Government for cutting a deal to sell uranium to Russia.

"The concerns the Australian Greens raised then are more pressing now. Russia has a nuclear energy sector known for low safety and environmental standards, the world's largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, and at the time of signing, had not been visited by IAEA inspectors since 2001.

"The formidable security and proliferation concerns of uranium deals with Russia were spelled out forensically by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) in 2008. The Government blindly dismissed these warnings. This is an example of short term profits taking precedence over global security interests."

Media Contact: Giovanni Torre - 0417 174 302


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