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Russia: U.S. Praises Missile Arrest

Washington, 19 November 1997 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. says it is encouraged by Russia's arrest of an Iranian who was allegedly trying to obtain diagrams of Russian missiles for Iran.

State Department spokesman Lee McClenny told reporters yesterday that the arrest last week was a positive step by Russia in the fight against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

He says the arrest is also another indication that Iran's government is conducting an official campaign to acquire missile technology. McClenny says the arrest was a flagrant episode of an Iranian diplomat defying international efforts to control weapons technology.

Iran has denied spying charges and also denied that the Iranian detained was an employee at its Moscow embassy. Iran contends the man was a student at Moscow State University.