debkafile Reports: In a coordinated U-turn, US and Russia both treat Iran’s space launch as attesting to a nuclear weapons program

Wednesday, Feb. 6, Moscow followed Washington in voicing concern that the launch of Iran’s Safir-1 space rocket Monday, Feb. 4, attested to the existence of a nuclear weapons program. This diametrically contradicts the US National Intelligence Estimate of last December, which concluded Iran had shelved its covert military nuclear program in 2003.
Moscow too has evidently abandoned its persistent denial of evidence that Tehran is developing a nuclear bomb.
The two comments from the White House and the Kremlin also point to Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin having settled their dispute over harsh sanctions against Iran.
The two leaders began pulling their acts on Iran together in December 2007, as debkafile first revealed, when Bush suddenly withdrew his objections to Russian fuel shipments for Iran’s Bushehr reactor. Tuesday, Feb. 5, in answer to a question, the White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Iran’s “space” missile was cause for worry. Such technology, she said, is the same as that needed to deliver a nuclear bomb.
Wednesday, Feb. 6, Russian deputy foreign minister Alexander Losyukov followed suit. He commented that Monday’s test launch of Iran’s “Safir-1 (Explorer-1) raises suspicions over Tehran’s claims of peaceful nuclear intentions and suggested its possible desire to create a nuclear weapon.
It was “of course a cause for concern.” Long-range missiles are components of a nuclear weapons system, the Russian official said – the first time any senior Russian official had admitted to suspecting Iran of underhand nuclear weapons activity.
debkafile‘s Washington and Moscow sources report: The statements from the two capitals indicate that Bush and Putin continue to cooperate on Iran and have decided to leave the controversial NIE behind them. The question is: Where does their collaboration go from here? Or, specifically, how does the White House propose to reward the Kremlin for adopting its hard line on Iran?
The place to watch may be Poland and the Czech Republic, where the US president might be flexible in his push for missile interceptor bases in consideration of Moscow’s adamant resistance.

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