Russia's Putin: Interview Transcript

Well, it is a legend which has nothing to do with reality. What we see here is the substitution of two notions: military, and technical cooperation with Iran. We are selling weapons, conventional weapons, to Iran. We have not ever, ever sold anything to Iran out of the range of technology or information that would help Iran develop missiles or weapons of mass destruction. We have some projects in atomic energy. The U.S. has the same projects in its relations with North Korea. It has nothing to do with developing nuclear weapons. We are categorically opposed to transferring any technologies to Iran that would help it develop nuclear weapons. There has been some information that allegedly Iran is drying to develop weapons of mass destruction. There's got to be a confirmation of that.

Anthrax and Bioterror

I want you to talk a bit about anthrax, because our country is very frightened. And the anthrax used in the United States mail attacks, was a very high-grade formula, that some experts said is available in the United States, Iraq, and possibly Russia. We've also heard that there are some stockpiles left over from Soviet times, of smallpox. Do you have any concern, that either the Anthrax, or your smallpox, could be stolen, or bought from your country?

No. I believe that it would be impossible. I believe it would be impossible, and then, the test of the materials that are available in the United States, are indicative of the fact that it could not have been produced in the Soviet Union, let alone Russia. First of all, those materials have been guarded, were guarded in the Soviet Union, and Russia, very securely. So I exclude that possibility.

Both anthrax and possibly smallpox.

Yes. I believe this is true of anthrax and smallpox, but more than that, in our contacts with the American partners, and, well, we have no argument about that. We exchange information on that. Any information that could be of interest to our American partners is available, it is discussed and analyzed.

You are have a vaccine for anthrax here in your country. If needed, and if asked, do you have enough to give to the United States? And would you?

... We believe that we should be partners, and perhaps even allies, with the United States, in very many areas. And, as to just helping the American people in combatting this evil, there can be no doubt about the fact that we will do everything possible. More than that. The U.S. has found out the possibility of such an operation. Our partners are working with our specialists, and this work will be pursued at a very practical level.

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