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UPDATED: 08:52, April 21, 2005
Russia plays a "positive role" in Iran's nuclear issues: Rice
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The United States believes that as Russia's involvement in Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant plays a "positive role" in dealing with Iran's nuclear issues, the US does not oppose it, visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in an interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station here on Wednesday.

Russia's Bushehr involvement helps in the process of non- proliferation of nuclear weapons in the country, Rice said before meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the Itar-Tass news agency reported.

Rice softened her recent harsh tone against Moscow during the interview by calling Russia a "strategic partner" and urged cooperation on various areas.

"We see Russia as a strategic partner in the war on terror. We see Russia as a strategic partner in stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction. We see Russia as a strategic partner in solving regional issues like the Balkans and the Middle East," she said.

Since her arrival, Rice has been critical on issues including the centralization of power in the Kremlin, the limited freedom of the Russia media and the recent sale of some 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles to Venezuela.

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