The Russian Connection
Ali Asghar Kazemi
November 16, 2009
Iran and the United States have been competing hard to gain Russian support for their mutually antagonistic nuclear policies. Russians as usual are playing a villain opportunist who tries to get the most benefit out of this tripartite connection. How far this game can continue and how long Iranians should pay ransom to the Kremlin in order to put into operation Bushehr nuclear power plant that has become a source of prestige and the symbol Iran-Russia cooperation after the revolution in Iran?
Upon the conclusion of a meeting between Obama and Medvediev during the November 15, 2009 APEC conference in Singapore, Russian have announced that Iran’s nuclear power plant at Bushehr will not be operational at the end of this year for technical matters. This is the fifth or sixth time that Russians have postponed the inauguration of the plant during the past years; whilst it has become a matter of pride and prestige for the Islamic regime. Despite Russian claim to the contrary, Iranians firmly believe that this action has a political motivation and is a direct result of American pressure on the Russians with respect to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Opposition groups blame the incumbent government for the mismanagement of the project and accuse Russians as unreliable and erratic party who should not be trusted for major undertakings.
In fact, this is not the first time that Russians are in flagrant breach of their contractual obligations towards Iran. They have done the same with regard to another important deal with the Islamic regime for a vital air defense project (S300). That too became victim of secret connection between the United States and Russia that has so far abstained to deliver the system on the promised date while they had been prepaid for the deal. Disregard of the substance and logic of this latter agreement, Russians have indeed proved to be an untrustworthy and opportunist partner in almost all interactions with Iran during the past history.
Russia’s villain conduct with respect to Iran’s legitimate rights in the Caspian Sea is another case in which the children of Tsars and Marx, with not much scruple and rudimentary norms of moral principles, are deceiving Iran. While political realm has its own morality, a minimum standard of fairness is expected without which no just and durable relations among nations are possible.
Ever since Iran’s controversial nuclear project was exposed to international debate, Russia along with China, as two permanent members of the UN Security Council, have played a crucial role in this issue. During the past years, the Islamic regime has done its utmost effort to benefit from these two powers’ leverage to evade from sanctions and punitive actions taken against it.
Despite a number of lucrative deals offered by Iran to Russia and China during the past years, thus far American influence has proved to be prevailing in the game. This means that Iranian leaders have not been able to divide between the 5+1 powers and attract Russia and China in support of their nuclear undertaking.
Iranian leaders are well aware of Russian moral fiber and feel betrayed by them. But, they are not prepared to admit the fact, since they have invested so much on the nuclear power plant and other projects during the past 15 years that they fear they may lose the whole if they turn back to their defective partner. Tehran’s reluctance to go along with the IAEA suggestion to transfer low degree enriched uranium to Russia for further process, as a measure of confidence building, seems to be motivated from Iranian apprehension of the overall Russia’s irresponsible record in the past.
Russians have shown in the past that whatever promotes their sole material interests is permissible and moral. This is not to contend that their counterparts are in a better position. However, we know that politicians who have no respect for their words and promises are condemned to be isolated from the mainstream of the global interaction. This is equally true for Russia, America, Iran or any other country.
The Russian connection had a terrible cost for Iran ever since the Islamic regime decided to enter into an unequal contest with the United States. At the end of this year, when Russia and China once again turn their back to the Islamic regime, we will be witnessing the final outcome of this vital competition.
Many believe that Iran’s extending friendly hands to Russia has been out of urgency and political expediency created as a result of its unwarranted enmity with the United States. Iranians think that continuous hostility with the Americans is not leading to anywhere and is damaging Iran’s long-run interests. They believe that it is high time that Iran explicitly protests against Russians for their malicious conduct and should review its policies towards Moscow before it is too late. /
Ali Asghar Kazemi is professor of Law and International Relations in Tehran, Iran. See: www.aakazemi.blogspot.com
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