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KEEPING UP AID IS LESSER OF 2 EVILS

Russia's unwillingness to cancel the sale of light-water nuclear reactors to Iran raises long-term security concerns for the Middle East.

But any significant U.S. cutbacks in aid to Russia in reprisal would raise the prospect of even greater dangers.Much of this aid is provided to ensure that Russia denuclearizes in a way that minimizes the risk that warheads and fissionable material might find their way to rogue states such as Iran and Iraq.

Moreover, from America's perspective, any reduction of aid that contributed to the disintegration of Boris Yeltsin's government and replacement by nationalists would result in enormous new dangers.

The world might then be faced with a regime that was driven by feelings of national humiliation fed by the loss of empire and the disintegration of its armed forces - and that continued to possess thousands of nuclear warheads.