Has World War III started?
Any military intervention in the Caspian Sea area would be unacceptable, Mr Putin declared as he attended a five-country regional summit in Tehran.
"We should not even think of making use of force in this region," Mr Putin told his fellow leaders.
His remarks also appeared directed at Azerbaijan, amid Russian media speculation that the US might be trying to negotiate with the republic on the right to use military facilities there, something Azeri officials deny.
A summit declaration from the five, which include Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan beside Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan, subsequently stressed that "under no circumstances will they allow (the use of their) territories by third countries to launch aggression or other military action against any of the member states".
The first Kremlin leader to visit Iran since Joseph Stalin in 1943, Mr Putin is holding talks with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, on Tehran's nuclear dispute with the west during the summit.
The importance of Mr Putin's trip to the Iranian side was clearly illustrated by the presence of Manouchehr Mottaki, Iran's foreign minister, who greeted Mr Putin as he stepped of his plane after it landed at Tehran's Mehrabad airport at around 9am local time (6.30BST).
Leaders from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan were met by lower-level dignitaries.
Mr Putin was later greeted personally by Mr Ahmadinejad, before the start of the summit at the palatial Saad Abad complex in north Tehran, local media reported.
Mr Putin has been accompanied by a retinue of 180 staff, aides and security personnel. A fleet of armoured cars has also been shipped from Russia for his trip.
The Russian leader's arrival had earlier been in doubt after the Russian special security services disclosed on Sunday that they had uncovered a plot to assassinate him in a suicide bomb in the Iranian capital. Iranian officials angrily dismissed the alleged conspiracy as "psychological warfare".
Mr Putin's presence was widely expected to overshadow the official purpose of the conference, which is ostensibly to thrash out disagreements over the sharing of resources in the oil-rich Caspian Sea.
Iran sees the arrival of Mr Putin - who accepted Mr Ahmadinejad's invitation to visit when the pair met at an Asian co-operation summit in Shanghai in August - as a major coup in its efforts to resist western pressure over its nuclear programme, which the US and its allies suspect is aimed at building an atomic bomb.
Russia's veto on the UN security council means its support is vital if Iran is to avoid a third round of sanctions when the body meets next month.
Moscow has criticised US attempts to pressure Tehran through economic sanctions and military threats and has called for greater engagement with Iran.
Last week, Mr Putin angered the US by declaring that there was no "objective evidence" that Iran is trying to develop a nuclear bomb.
However, he has also called on Iran to show greater openness and flexibility over its uranium enrichment programme.
The nuclear issue is not on the summit agenda, but it will be discussed when Mr Putin holds one-on-one meetings with Mr Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, who has the final say on all state matters.
Despite the official hype, Mr Putin's visit is being treated with scepticism. Russia is mistrusted by many Iranians, who point to a history of hostile relations going back two centuries.
Iran is angry over delays in a £500m contract with Russia to build the Bushehr nuclear power station. Russia has put completion on hold because of alleged late payments by the Iranians. Iran has denied the accusation and believes Russia is merely trying to use the issue to wring concessions over the nuclear programme.
The historic suspicions were reflected in an article today on the reformist No Rouz website, headlined The Second Turkmanchai Is On Its Way, a reference to an 1828 peace treaty in which Iran was forced to cede large swathes of territory in the Caucasus to Russia.
The article claimed Iran was being pressed to accept a "shameful" agreement giving it an 11% share of Caspian resources in a package that would allow Russian nuclear submarines to sail close to the Iranian coast.
Until 1991, Tehran and Moscow had equal shares in the Caspian Sea, but the break-up of the Soviet Union triggered moves to re-allocate resources.
Iran says the resources should be shared equally among the five Caspian states, but Russia believes it should be based on coastal size, giving Tehran a much smaller proportion and depriving it of gas and oil resources.
Opening today's conference, Mr Ahmadinejad ignored such difficulties. "The five countries are all cradles of civilisation and have existed in peace for thousands of years," he said.
Putin reaffirms commitment to Bushehr NPP completion -1Russia will complete the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran, President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.
Russian nuclear equipment export monopoly Atomstroyexport has been building Iran's first nuclear power plant despite opposition from Western countries and amid international concerns that the Islamic Republic is pursuing a covert nuclear weapons program.
"Russia said from the start that it would not only sign a contract but see it though," Putin, who is on a two-day official visit to Iran, told a news conference in the capital, Tehran.
"We are not going to go back on our commitment," he said.
The completion of the plant, being constructed under a 1995 contract, came under threat in February 2007 after Russia complained of funding shortfalls. Moscow said Tehran had only covered 60% of the required funds by the fourth quarter of 2006, and completely stopped payments in mid-January. Iran denied any payment problems, and accused Russia of delaying tactics.
The Russian leader said the delays were mainly caused by certain technical and legal difficulties dating back to the initial 1975 construction contract between Iran and Germany, which has never been implemented.
"At the start of the construction we received German equipment, which is obviously outdated," Putin said, adding that some other subcontractors, including South Korea, failed to provide equipment under relevant contracts with Iran.
"In addition, there are certain legal provisions in the [Russian-Iranian] contract that have to be revised and amended," the president said.
Putin also said Russia would start supplying fuel to Bushehr when a commissioning date is set, and contract obligations are amended.
"Under International Atomic Energy Agency rules, nuclear fuel will be supplied several months before a nuclear reactor is commissioned," he said. Link
Caspian states adopt declaration on repelling aggressors -2The five Caspian Sea littoral states adopted a declaration at their second summit on Tuesday in Tehran, pledging to deny access to third countries who intend to use force against any Caspian state.
"The parties stress that they will not allow other countries to use their territories for acts of aggression or other military operations against any party," the declaration reads.
The signatories pledged efforts to build and enhance mutual confidence, regional security, and stability, and to refrain from the use of force in solving mutual problems.
Participants said in their joint declaration that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was vital to international stability and security.
The five countries - Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan - confirmed "the unassailable right of all signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to research, produce, and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, without discrimination, and within the provisions of this treaty, and the safeguards of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency]," the statement said.
The declaration also asserts the countries' "responsibility for damage inflicted on Caspian resources and to any Caspian state from the use of the Caspian Sea and development of its resources."
The five nations acknowledged that "Caspian resources, and the sea's sturgeon population, require the adoption of joint emergency action to prevent negative environmental consequences."
The summit participants said a future convention on the legal status of the sea should respect sovereign rights of Caspian states, and include environmental regulations, navigation norms and economic rules.
The declaration also spoke for "peaceful, just and stable solutions to conflicts in line with the United Nations charter, also taking into account sovereignty, territorial integrity and the inviolability of internationally recognized borders to ensure security, peace and stability in the region."
Summit host Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the declaration was a strong response to those who seek to damage cooperation between Caspian nations.
"Those opposed to peace and friendship among Caspian nations pursue their illegal interests, and the declaration by the heads of Caspian countries is a strong response to them," he said.
Ahmadinejad said agreements reached at the summit were a turning point in Caspian cooperation. "Besides signing the first political document [a joint declaration], we agreed to establish a Caspian economic partnership organization."
The president said that next summer would see an economic conference of Caspian states held under the chairmanship of the Russian president, which will be attended by premiers and economics ministers.
The Iranian leader said an agreement had been reached that the foreign ministers of the littoral states would meet twice each year, and the presidents once a year. "The next summit of Caspian nations will be held in Baku in October 2008 and hosted by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev," Ahmadinejad said. Link
Bush warns nuclear-armed Iran could mean 'World War III'US President George W Bush warned Wednesday that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to a third world war because of the Islamic state's determination to destroy Israel. "We have got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel," Bush said, referring to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "So I have told people that, if you are interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon," Bush said. Bush's comments came one day after Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Ahmadinejad in Tehran and stated there was no evidence to support western accusations that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Bush said he was eager to hear from Putin about his conversations with Ahmadinejad and whether the Russian leader remained determined to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Bush said he wanted Putin to "clarify" his remarks. "He understands that it's in the world's interests to make sure that Iran does not have the capacity to make a nuclear weapon," Bush said. "If he wasn't concerned about it, then why do we have such good progress at the United Nations?" Bush said. Putin has backed two UN Security Council resolutions imposing limited sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt uranium enrichment, but has been reluctant to come down too hard on Tehran over concerns it would undermine the diplomatic effort to keep Iran from developing atomic weapons. Iran maintains the process is solely for producing civilian energy. Link
Bush Warns Leaders Of WWIII If Iran Becomes Nuclear
- US President George W. Bush said Wednesday that he had warned world leaders they must prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons "if you're interested in avoiding World War III."
- "We've got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel," Bush said at a White House press conference after Russia cautioned against military action against Tehran's supect atomic program.
- "So I've told people that, if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon," said Bush. AFP
Russia's Putin : "Iran Is Not Afraid" Of US, Israel "Believe Me"
Russia's President Vladimir Putin has confirmed that he is backing Iran against the full force of the NeoCon-led propaganda campaign designed to force people in the US, the UK, Australia and across Europe to accept the 'reality' of the need for a new war in the Middle East.
Putin recently declared that Iran does not possess nuclear weapons, is not pursuing a nuclear weapons program and poses "no threat" to any nation, least of all the United States.
But the NeoCons have their heart set on bombing Iran before President Bush leaves office, and they don't let the fact that nobody, including President Bush himself, acknowledges that Iran currently poses a nuclear weapons capability threat, to mess with their blood-soaked dreams.
Putin made clear that Iran feels no fear from the threats of military action coming from the United States or Israel :
"Threatening someone, in this case the Iranian leadership and Iranian people, will lead nowhere," Putin said Monday during his trip to Germany. "They are not afraid, believe me."
Support amongst US allies for a War On Iran is thin, at best, and the United States closest Iraq War ally, Australia, recently pledged to not support any military action on Iran. France has also retreated from a 'pro-war' position on Iran, as has the United Kingdom.
But barely known to most in the West is that Putin is not alone in backing Iran against the threats of military strikes from the United States and Israel. Putin has the support of China, most of the 'Stans (including Afghanistan and Pakistan) and more than a dozen other countries who have lined up with China and Russia under the umbrella of new trade and economic alliances.
Putin also recently told a summit of energy-rich Caspian Sea bordering nations that they should not allow the United States to use their territory for staging attacks on Iran.
In the past two years, Iran has cut new energy deals with China, Russia, Pakistan and India worth hundreds of billions of dollars. China and Russia have both publicly stated that their energy deals with Iran fall under the "national interest" category, which the US and Australia used to justify their illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Trade and economic alliances are always backed by military alliances, as shown by recent joint war games hosted by China and Russia. How else do you defend to the hilt your trade interests other than with the force of your military?
Just to ram home the point that Russia and China will not tolerate any attacks on Iran, Putin has now placed his arsenal of long range, strategic bombers on airborne stand-by for the rest of October. They will be patrolling most of the world's skies, with a particular focus on the Pacific, interestingly enough at the same time the United States will be holding some of its biggest airborne 'war games' in decades.Putin also recently told a summit of energy-rich Caspian Sea bordering nations that they should not allow the United States to use their territory for staging attacks on Iran. Link
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