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WikiLeaks: Putin ordered Iran nuke plan to be sabotaged.

Vladimir Putin ordered the sabotage of Iran's nuclear program in 2006 while he was president, according to WikiLeaks documents published last week by the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot.

The actual documents were not immediately available on either the Yediot or WikiLeaks websites. Yediot said they detail talks between the head of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission, Gideon Frank, and then-US ambassador to Israel Richard Jones.

During a February 2006 meeting, Frank told Jones "at length about the results of his secret meetings with top figures in the Russian security establishment and intelligence community," Yediot reported.

Among the officials he met were Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the chairman of the Russian Atomic Energy Commission, Sergey Kiriyenko. (The defense minister has since changed, while the other two still hold their posts.)

Frank told Jones Putin had personally ordered measures to delay progress at Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant. "Frank said Kiriyenko had told him he intended to delay the process of sending the nuclear rods to the reactor in Bushehr for an extended period of time and that he had no intention of supplying the reactor with 'fresh fuel' at the current stage," Yediot reported.

The fuel was finally sent by Russia in December 2008 and January 2009, almost three years after the meeting detailed in the cable. More fuel was just delivered to Iran this month.

Kiriyenko told the Israelis "the Russians intended to explain the deliberate delay by means of 'technical problems,'" adding that "Putin had personally ordered that deliberate delay in delivery," the newspaper said.

Frank also said the Russians had told him "they had made changes to the hardware that they were supposed to send to the Bushehr reactor so as to slow down the Iranian nuclear program even further."

The reactor has been constantly delayed and was only turned on this month, also it was supposed to go into operation in January 1999.

Many in Iran have been very suspicious of Russia and accusations that Russia was dragging its feet to curry favor with the Americans have been commonplace over the years.

The information in the US cable only related what the Russians told the Israelis. It did not prove that the Russians were actually delaying work on the reactor. They could well have been trying to curry favor with the Israelis by attributing natural delays to a grand political ploy on their part.
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Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Jun 17, 2011
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