Belarus on Thursday denied Western allegations that it had assisted Iran in evading international penalties targeting the Persian Gulf state's atomic and ballistic missile activities, Reuters reported (see GSN, Sept. 15).
Western diplomats on Wednesday accused the former Soviet state of aiding Iran in dodging U.N. Security Council resolutions aimed at halting Iranian nuclear activities that could support weapons development. Tehran has maintained its atomic ambitions are strictly peaceful.
"This information is wrong. Belarus abides, in a very responsible way, by U.N. sanctions and has never violated them," Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh told Reuters (Andrei Makhovsky, Reuters, Sept. 16).
"The U.N. Secretariat is well aware of that," Savinykh told Interfax (Interfax, Sept. 15).
The Western officials claimed Minsk was acting as an intermediary in Iran's efforts to acquire sensitive technology from Russia.
"This information can be considered as another attempt to cast a shadow over our country," Reuters quoted the official as saying (Makhovsky, Reuters).
Meanwhile, Russia on Thursday welcomed actions taken by Iran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and encouraged additional steps by Tehran in the same vein, ITAR-Tass reported.
Iran permitted IAEA safeguards chief Herman Nackaerts to visit its major atomic facilities over several days last month (see GSN, Aug. 23).
"We believe it important that Iran accepted the calls of the IAEA and provided a possibility for experts of the agency to inspect the construction of the heavy-water IR-40 reactor and the facility for the production of heavy water in Arak as well as the enterprise for the production of new-generation centrifuges," Russian Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency Grigory Berdennikov said.
"It is also important that Iran provided to the agency additional information regarding future scientific research to improve centrifuge technologies, as well as the history of the construction and the initial designation of the uranium-enrichment facility in Qum," Berdennikov said.
"The transparency measures go beyond the framework of Iran's commitments stipulated by the agreement on guarantees with the IAEA," he said.
"We hope Tehran will continue the course towards additional transparency measures that would allow to reach a new and deeper level of interaction with the agency and take practical steps towards a comprehensive settlement of the situation around Iranian nuclear program. We believe it is important that Iran resumes the implementation of the Additional Protocol to the IAEA agreement on guarantees and informs the agency in advance about the construction of nuclear facilities and clarifies 'planned research' that can be of military designation and fulfills the U.N. Security Council and IAEA resolutions," he said (ITAR-Tass, Sept. 16).