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! HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 20, 2003 PAGE 11 , By Lev Krichevsky MOSCOW (JTA)-- Russia's leadership has in- dicated in the past two weeks that it is ready to rethink its long-standing nuclear coop- eration with Iran - but ex- perts here agree that Mos- cow has not yet decided to ban such cooperation. The United States and Is- rael long have criticized Rus- sia for helping develop Iran's nuclear energy program, in- cluding helping build the Bushehr nuclear power plant. "Russia doesn't know yet where it goes from here," said Pavel Felgenhauer, an independent Russian de- fense analyst. "Russian policy on Iran is shifting, yet there is disar- ray among Russian leader- ship about what to do next, what do we ask from Iran," Feigenhauer said. "Presi- dent Putin is saying one thing and the foreign min- ister" Igor Ivanov "is saying another." At a joint news conference with President Bush earlier this month in Evian, France, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow's position on Iran is much closer to Washington's than previ- ously believed, and that Russia does not "need to be convinced of the fact that there should be no prolif- eration of weapons of mass destruction." He added that Russia will work with the United States to prevent such proliferation "every- where, including Iran." Also in Evian, Putin told his fel- low G-8 leaders that Russia will halt "all nuclear ex- ports" to Iran until that country signs on to a stricter protocol on nuclear inspections. By Moira Schneider CAPE TOWN (JTA)--Had she survived, Anne Frank would have turned 74 last Thursday. Six days later, Roland Polastro will pay her a post- humous birthday tribute ~vith the worldwide premier here of his Anne Frank Can- tata. The production will star Jewish soprano Andrea Catzel and will feature 30 choir members from local Jewish day schools. Polastro wrote the Composition's musical score and the words, much of them in German. "I happened to be re-read- ing the Anne Frank Diary and things clicked in my mind," Polastro told JTA. Polastro was deeply af- fected when he first read "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl." He was 14, the Same age as Frank when she died. He found himself won- dering how he would have reacted in her situation, Polastro said. Not long ago, Polastro, Who is not Jewish, decided he wanted to convert to Ju- daism. He began taking He- brew lessons, which he had to interrupt when his father fell ill and then died. Polastro moved to Cape Town two years ago. He is This week, Putin rein- forced his statements at a meeting with visiting U.S. Jewish leaders. Putin indicated that Rus- sia has suspended delivery of nuclear materials to Iran until there is more trans- parency in Tehran's use of sensitive technologies. He added that Moscow would seek additional guar- antees from Tehran that Russian technologies are not being used to produce weap- ons of mass destruction. Putin acknowledged that materials sold to Iran carry a potentially great threat of being used as weaponry be- cause of Iran's support of terrorism. But earlier this month, a senior Russian Cabinet member dismissed U.S. con- cerns that Russian nuclear technology could be used to create atomic weapons in Iran, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Tehran is a mem- ber of the International Atomic Energy Agency and abides by its regulations. He said the technology that will be employed at Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant couldn't "even hypo- thetically" be used for the production of weapons- grade plutonium or "other military purposes." "This is purely a commercial project," Ivanov said. Similarly, Foreign Minis- ter Igor Ivanov said Russia would not necessarily link its completion of the Bushehr plant to Tehran's signature on additional agreements that would make its nuclear facilities avail- able for unannounced in- spections. Georgii Mirskii, an expert on Middle East affairs with Moscow's Institute of Gio- musical determined to pursue seri- ously his goal of conversion "once the dust settles" after his show, he said. Polastro's journey to Ju- daism started not with Frank but with the famous picture of the little boy in the War- saw Ghetto with his arms held up in surrender. "He had a very arresting face," Polastro said. "I wrote a poem about him and then started getting interested in embracing Judaism as a reli- gion." The new musical com- position, which has four movements, reflects his per- sonal spiritual journey. "My own conversion to Ju- daism would be represented in the final movement, which is in Hebrew and in which I have incorporated Ein Keloheinu," a traditional prayer, he said. "The first three movements are very much to do with Anne and her life, her sufferings, the birthday parties she never re- ally had. Then the little boy --whom I've called Jakob -- gets his movement and the finale is an affirmation of faith." There will be a large white screen behind the choir onto which images of Frank, and the house an~ annex where she took refuge, will be projected as the work progresses. "When the fourth move- ment comes along, there will bal Economics and Interna- tional Relations, agreed that the Kremlin is ambivalent about U.S. demands to end nuclear cooperation with Iran. Moscow is reluctant to give in to American pres- sure for reasons of econom- ics and prestige, but it agrees that concerns that Iran might be seeking to build nuclear weapons increas- ingly are being substanti- ated, Mirskii said in a recent interview. If Tehran succeeds in ac- quiring such weapons, they would pose a more direct threat to Russia than to the United States, he said. "A nuclear Iran that has territorial claims in the Caspian basin is a real con- cern for Russia, and is not something that Russia would want to see near its borders," Feigenhauer said. Russia consistently has stated that its cooperation with Iran in the nuclear sphere doesn't go beyond the energy sector- the light-wa- ter reactor that Russia is building in Bushehr is not of great proliferation con- cern - but Iran reportedly is just three to four years away from completing a working nuclear bomb. It remains an open ques- tion to what extent Russian cooperation has helped Tehran reach that goal. The existence of a ura- nium enrichment plant at Natanz, Iran, was publicly revealed in August 2002 by an Iranian opposition group. International observers later confirmed that the technol- ogy can be used to enrich uranium beyond the needs of power reactors, for use in weapons. "Moscow clearly does share concerns about the premiers be a picture in the center of the little boy. There won't be a dry eye in the place," Polastro predicted. Given the subject matter, the production could have been gloomy, but in fact it is a celebration, he said. "With this one is to some extent celebrating the life of Anne Frank, of that little boy in the ghetto who is now not forgotten." he said. "And in the end, we affirm the faith." Polastro, who is a trained pia- nist, said his work is tuneful and melodious throughout. "It has its serious and som- ber moments, but it has plenty of foot-tapping stuff and plenty of tunes you can hum along to once you have heard them once or twice," he said. Three of the movements are in German, which Polastro said Yiddish and Afrikaans speakers should be able to understand. Just in case, a complete translation of the program will be available. Eventually, Polastro hopes to take the production to Johannesburg and other South African cities, as well as to Israel and the United States. "That could produce a lot of money, not just for me, but for Jewish charities and education in South Africa," he said. "That's really what I want to make my life's work." real intentions of Iran," Felgenhauer said. "It was a nasty surprise for Russians that they had built a ura- nium purification plant. That was apparently done in secret from Russia." Evgeny Satanovsky, president of the Russian Jewish Congress and a leading expert on the Middle East, said Russia is not helping Iran develop weapons of mass destruc- tion. "Iran is one of the most stable Russian neighbors in the region, but Russia un- derstands-that Iran is not its strategic partner," Satanovsky said. "Russia is ready to heed U.S. concerns, but simple pressure won't work here." He continued, "Keeping Russian contracts in the Iranian nuclear en- ergy sector is an important way to have some control over Iran's nuclear program. It should be understood now when we see that Tehran will soon have its bomb with or without Russia." In fact, dur- ing this week's meeting with American Jewish leaders, Putin said Russia is "against using the pretext of a nuclear weapons program as an in- strument of unfair competi- tion against us." Russia is expected to receive about $500 million in revenues from the completed Bushehr plant. The cost of the entire project is estimated at $10 billion. Some analysts say it may not be up to Putin to change or terminate the Bushehr contract. Russian business leaders have their own in- terests at stake, and the fu- ture of the sensitive projects in Iran largely lies with them, experts say. Kakha Bendukidze, a pow- erful Russian business ty- coon, has an industrial con- glomerate, United Machine Building Plants, that is the largest shareholder of Iran's nuclear energy project and is responsible for building the reactor turbines. Felgenhauer said it would not be much of an exaggera- tion to say that "instead of going to Bush or Putin, those who are concerned about the program rather should go to Bendukidze." Analysts say it will be nearly impossible to persuade Rus- sia to cancel the Bushehr contract using economic inducements. "The economic compen- sation the U.S. is offering to Russia will not work here," Felgenhauer said. "You have to find a way to meet the interests of those who actu- ally own the project, not Russia as a nation. 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