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    AMERICA NOT TO ELBOW RUSSIA OUT OF IRAN: NUCLEAR POWER MINISTER

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 12 (RIA Novosti correspondent Alevtina Schepitina) - Alexander Rumyantsev, Russia's Minister of Nuclear Power Industry, enthusiastically approves the US President on every point of his yesterday's address, where nuclear nonproliferation is concerned.

    "I offer my support to Mr. Bush on every item," the minister said while commenting the President's emphatic warning against mass destruction weaponry falling into terrorist or rogue regime hands.

    Mr. Rumyantsev described that as "an extremely serious statement, which demands discussion". "An international understanding must be worked out to prevent terrorist access to whatever fission materials," he emphasised.

    When reporters asked the minister whether he thought President George W. Bush was referring to Russian-Iranian nuclear-oriented contacts, the reply was: "The United States is certainly criticising us, and does not think we ought to cooperate with Iran. As things really are, Russia has not trespassed any of its international pledges in its partnership with Iran, so we cannot agree to quit that market."

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