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News Brief

December 21, 2005
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Czech government officials secretly negotiated with Iran on possible cooperation with the Islamic regime’s nuclear program, according to a Czech newspaper. Industry and Trade Minister Milan Urban said he discussed aiding Iran’s civilian nuclear aims during trade talks in early December, and top Czech politicians — including Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek — secretly negotiated with Iranian deputies on possible cooperation shortly before Iran’s president called for the destruction of Israel, Respekt reported. Urban and Paroubek’s actions were condemned by the newspaper and by Jana Hybaskova, a pro-Israel Czech member of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, and Josef Jarab, head of the Czech Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee. Jarab was one of several legislators who refused to meet with their Iranian counterparts. Tomas Kraus, head of the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic, expressed astonishment at the prospect of any Czech official discussing a commercial nuclear deal with Iran. Paroubek admitted to Respekt that as Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continued making outrageous anti-Israel statements, “maybe doing business” with Iran on nuclear power “would be a problem right now.”

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