There are serious differences between the nuclear programs of
North Korea and Iran, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a
written interview with Mexican publisher Mario Vazquez Rania on
"North Korea has walked out of the Treaty on the
Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), has announced that its
nuclear program is military in nature, has sent the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors out of the country, and
finally has carried through a nuclear test," Putin was quoted by
the Interfax news agency as saying.
While "Iran is, unlike North Korea, an NPT participant. It
continues to comply with the Guarantees Agreement with the IAEA,
which makes it possible to control its nuclear activities. Until
now the agency has been unable to find any indication in Iran of
peaceful nuclear projects having been turned into to military
ones," Putin said.
"However, it cannot be said that the IAEA has no serious
questions about some aspects of Iran's former nuclear activities.
Nor has the IAEA so far been able to confirm the absence in Iran of
undeclared nuclear projects. All of these are fueling anxiety over
the character of the nuclear program of that country," Putin
"Iran should clarify the questions that the agency still has and
in that way restore confidence in the peaceful character of its
efforts in the nuclear sphere," he said.
Talking about UN Security Council Resolution 1718 on North
Korea, Putin said "Russia supports the resolution."
"Indeed, there was need for a powerful and verified reaction
from the Security Council that was aimed at preventing the further
escalation of tension. We also believed that the North Koreans
needed to be given a clear signal that their behavior was
undermining the international regime of nuclear nonproliferation,"
But Russia also insisted on "purely nonviolent means of
"It is our principle that the main goal of UN Security Council
Resolution 1718 is not to punish the North Korea but to solve the
problem of its nuclear program in a political way. In this
connection, we hail Pyongyang's decision to return to the six-party
talks and expect that ultimately this will lead to a civilized
settlement of this problem," Putin said.
UN Resolution 1718, which was passed on Oct. 14, calls for
embargo on the provision and procurement of arms, related material
and technical assistance as well as assets freeze and embargo on
the export of luxury goods to North Korea.
(Xinhua News Agency December 8, 2006)