|Russia and the CIS News Digest
Russia To Expand Rail, Energy Cooperation with Iran
July 29 (EIRNS)Russian Railways president Vladimir Yakunin will visit Iran in the Autumn, to sign an agreement to construct a key railway link in the proposed International North-South transport corridor (INSTC), Voice of Russia reported yesterday. The corridor project, under discussion among Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, India, and other nations of the region, since 2000, will eventually link St. Petersburg with Bandar-Abbas, the Iranian port on the Persian Gulf. A consortium, in which Russian Railways (RZhD) will take a lead role, is being considered to construct new rail lines between Iran and Azerbaijan along the Caspian Sea.
During World War II, the Trans-Iranian railway from the then-Shapur (now Bandar Khomeini) port at the far northern end of the Persian Gulf was a key transport link to get U.S. Lend Lease supplies to the Soviet Union. Bandar Abbas, which has since become the most important Iranian Gulf port, lies much farther south, and was linked to the Iranian rail system in the late 1990s.
Russian Energy Minister Sergey Shmatko, who met with his visiting Iranian counterpart Masud Mir-Kazemi in Moscow July 14, to discuss gas, oil, and civilian nuclear cooperation, called the INSTC a crucial transport corridor between the nations, VOR reported.
Earlier, on July 6, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposed integrating the North Caucasus area of Russia into the project, as part of a new strategy to develop the regions backward economy. "We see a real perspective of building the North Caucasus into a north-south international transit corridor that would link Russia and Europe with the Persian Gulf and Central Asian states," Putin told a United Russia party conference on the region, Novosti reported.
Belarus To Repopulate Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
July 29 (EIRNS)21st Century Science & Technology has posted on its website an exclusive report by radiation expert Zbigniew Jaworowski, on the decision of Belarus to repopulate the exclusion zone around Chernobyl. Jaworowski concludes that Belarus "should be commended for its courage in standing up to the Chernobyl hysteria, for years cultivated by Greenpeace and other Greens." The "panic-stricken reaction to the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor mishap was a fatal error on the part of Soviet authorities," he says. He reviews in detail the scientific data on the effects of radiation in the Chernobyl area, in contrast to the radiophobic hysteria.
Jaworowski cites the years of scientific studies which show that the Chernobyl catastrophe caused a minuscule risk for the general population. The only fatalities were of 31 rescue workers and employees of the power station at the time of the accident. Among those workers who survived, there is no increase of cancer mortality. Among the inhabitants of the contaminated areas, there is no increase of cancer incidence and hereditary diseases.
Jaworowski is a multidisciplinary scientist, who has published more than 300 scientific papers, four books, and scores of popular science articles, including many in 21st Century and EIR. He has been a member of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) since 1973, and served as its chairman from 1980-1982.
An article by Jaworowski on Chernobyl will be published in the Summer 2010 issue of 21st Century.