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U.S view: Moscow-Tehran relations

Politics Materials 7 January 2011 09:00
In his recently published article about the geopolitics of Russia, Herman Pirchner, well-known U.S. political analyst, head of the Washington Council on U.S. foreign policy fervently outlined the pros and cons of relations between Moscow and Tehran. This publication is not surprising, given that Iran is still considered the main threat to U.S. national security.
U.S view: Moscow-Tehran relations

Trend Commentator Polad Hamidov

In his recently published article about the geopolitics of Russia, Herman Pirchner, well-known U.S. political analyst, head of the Washington Council on U.S. foreign policy fervently outlined the pros and cons of relations between Moscow and Tehran. This publication is not surprising, given that Iran is still considered the main threat to U.S. national security.

Pirchner appreciated Russia's decision, taken after several years of delays, which included the final refusal to sell Iran S-300 medium-range anti-aircraft missile systems. He said that the cancellation of the contract for S-300 sale is associated with the Israeli threat to attack Iran in case such defensive systems were installed.

However, the Russian side, guided by specific motives, justified its refusal to the latest UN sanctions adopted towards Iran. Many people consider the military solution to Iranian nuclear program as unreal. Uzi Rubin, the founder of the Israeli department on anti-missile defense system, spoke about a military solution to Iranian nuclear issue. He stressed that in this case, everything depends on the availability of reliable intelligence data and it cannot be known for sure "what they actually have there," the Israeli expert said in an interview with "Vremya Novostey". This means that an attack on Iran will not be effective if we take into account the world intelligence agencies' incomplete information.

Meanwhile, Rubin regarded the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system as dangerous for the Israeli aviation. The means of its overcoming have not been developed yet because of the system's secrecy.

Perhaps, the canceled contract on supplying S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran allowed Russia and Israel to reach a consensus on the licensed production of the unmanned aircrafts in Russia, which was signed in the autumn of last year.

Consequently, the Russia-Israel relations, in the sphere of military-technical cooperation, reached a qualitatively new level.


Russians have made at least four arguments in favor of cooperation with Iran:

An accommodation with Iran postpones the day the Islamic republic will use its resources to stir up the Muslim populations of Central Asia, or even worse, Russia proper. The West's continuing problems with Iran reduce America's appetite and capability for playing a role in Ukraine, Georgia and other parts of the former USSR.

From the economic point of view, if a serious crisis occurs with the West, oil prices will go up dramatically - an event that will help Russia. Russia profits from reactor and arms sales.

The counter-arguments, which are ascendant, include:

If Iran gets the nuclear bomb, other unstable and unfriendly Muslim states will also get the bomb. This is dangerous for Russia.

A nuclear Iran will not need cooperation with Russia, and Tehran's most extreme elements will help Russian jihadists. Thus, Russia should help the West stop this problem before it grows.

Hoping for a confrontation between the West and Iran is stupid because the consequences cannot be predicted including the effect on the world economy and midterm oil prices.

As mentioned above, Russia decided to stop the delivery of S-300 systems to Iran. It is telling that this decision was made public following Vladimir Putin's Paris meeting with French President Sarkozy.

It is not a coincidence because Russia and France have agreed on joint production of two helicopter carriers Mistral, which was negotiated during 2010. It deals with building of four ships, a phased transfer of technologies with a gradual transfer of production to Russia.

Russia's refusal from selling Iran S-300 most likely contributed to conclude such agreements with the European country.

Mistral, a large landing helicopter carrier and a ship-docking of the French Navy with capacity of 21,300 tons, is capable of placing roughly 900 paratroopers, 13 tanks, 16 heavy and 35 light helicopters and four landing boats.

It is strange that Pirchner's article, dedicated to Iran, does not reflect U.S. interests, which gives the impression that the United States is completely loyal towards the region. This article describes the vicissitudes of the relationship between the three geopolitical players: Russia, Europe and Iran.

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