IRAN : RUSSIA, THE TIME OF UNCERTAINTIES AND CONTRADICTIONS
© IRAN-RESIST.ORG – July 20, 2010 | Last week, Russia distinguished itself particularly well in its omnipresence about Iran. First of all, it caused much surprise by stating that it would send some warnings to Iran by resorting to resolutions or sanctions in order to force it to dialogue because it was sure that the Iranian nuclear program was of military kind, an opinion it didn’t express before. Tehran protested but Washington didn’t react. The Western media thus concluded that it has just hardened its position toward Iran but we thought it was not true : it has simply opposed to the appeasement policy of Washington. The day after, such analysis was confirmed by Russia’s announcement of gasoline sale to Iran in case of American embargo, which doesn’t appear at all as a proof of hardening. Since then, the media that mistaken avoided to make any comment about the matter. But Moscow kept going and took several initiatives of the same kind. It announced that it has adopted a new approach in its policy, which was already very complex, toward the American policy against Iran.
Russia’s Iranian-American policy| It’s been years that Russia has opposed to American decisions against Iran : it has always been against sanctions and it has been favourable to their bypass. The primary reason of such policy is that for years Washington has sanctioned the mullahs to prompt them to stop supporting the Hezbollah and put their fundamentalist destructive forces at the service of the American interests, i.e. against Russian interests in Central Asia.
Russia’s second Iranian-American policy | From 2004 to 2006, Washington implied that it would consider the military option, which supposed the replacement of mullahs by American pawns. Russia, such as other States that have interests in Iran or in Central Asia, accepted to transfer the Iranian nuclear issue to the Security Council : they created the Six Group in order to avoid any American military intervention and keep the United States from having a free hand that would make it impose to the mullahs the sanctions it wishes.
Thus we came to a new approach of the policy of protection of Russian interests : Russia was hostile to American sanctions, it was favourable to a common approach via the Security Council with resolutions that would be used as warnings but it was convinced that there was no military aspect in the Iranian nuclear program and consequently it gave priority to dialogue.
Retroactively we can assess that it’s a political mistake because Washington mentioned those strikes in order to obtain the transfer those States used to refuse. After that it obtained the transfer, it got involved in the adoption of a series of sanctions that would make it able to carry on a war of economic attrition with the caution of States such as Russia. No soon had it been adopted, the new Russian policy was obsolete. However in the absence of any modification, we may suppose that change is not among options.
Russia’s third Iranian-American policy | In December 2007, Moscow realized with horror that the mullahs were not indifferent to a possible entente with Washington : they started secret negotiations and they took advantage of the Russian protection so to deprive Washington from its means of pressure and delay the entente (and thus Washington’s seizure of Central Asia) and in order to obtain an agreement that would involve the right to maintain their regional militias, the Hamas and the Hezbollah.
Since then the Russian policy towards the mullahs has changed again : Moscow decided to reduce Tehran’s immunity and make its protection become hazardous. It froze the delivery of missiles S-300 to Iran, it opposed to the integration of Iran to the Organization of Protection of Shanghai and it has regularly implied that it could adhere to the sanctions. As revenge, it used to focus on dialogue. It supported dialogue only.
Such approach which was doubly passive appeared to be a big double failure because in the name of the Russian opposition, Washington dismissed new sanctions against Iran, which was then about to collapse, in order to avoid the dejection of its future indispensable allies. Then in the name of dialogue, it expedited its several regional allies to Iran in order to offer important investments which could be carried out on the sole condition that American sanctions get lifted, i.e. in case of Iranian-American entente. Moscow needed to change its approach. The policy of sanction and of passive protection needed to be changed. This became urgent when Obama offered to start a dialogue without any precondition and with the suspension of the adoption of new sanctions until the 1st January 2010.
Such change didn’t happen because Obama’s administration purchased Russia’s adhesion to the American requirements in exchange of the withdrawal by the United States of the ABM system and the right for Russia to install military bases in Georgia for duration of 49 years. Moscow bet that Washington would never manage to make the mullahs submit before the 1st January 2010 and consequently it would be constrained to adopt a new resolution that would put an end to this appeasement that threatens Russian interests. Washington surprised Russians and the other States that hope for the end of this appeasement by making Turkey and Brazil, two of its most important trade partners that have a seat in the Security Council, intervene in the role of opponents to a new resolution. The first reaction of Moscow was to announce the delivery of S-300. Such choice appeared too risky.
Russia’s fourth Iranian-American policy | Thus Russia broke its pact and initiated a new approach : it announced its decision to adopt new sanctions that would even be unilateral. For instance, it put an end to Lukoil’s presence in Iran and it renounced to other investments such as the purchase of Esfahan’s steel plants. Washington didn’t dispose anymore of its usual official pretext so to deny the adoption of harsher sanctions and continue its sterile dialogue with the mullahs by refusing any compromise. Then it authorized Turkey and Brazil to negotiate directly with Tehran a nuclear agreement instead of the Six. Those both countries closed a much unsound deal which was acclaimed by Washington as a proof the dialogue’s efficiency. However Moscow didn’t acclaim this agreement.
Then Russia intensified its announcements in favour of new sanctions. The United Kingdom, number 1 of the world’s oil market, which could loose such leadership in case of any Iranian-American entente, used all of its influence to require sanctions for the same reason : Washington didn’t dispose anymore of its usual official pretext so to deny the adoption of harsher sanctions and continue its sterile dialogue with the mullahs by refusing any compromise. Then it suggested the resolution 1929 which didn’t include any new economic sanction against Iran. Russia expressed its satisfaction because Obama had just stopped its appeasement policy and the Security Council in which it seats had just taken the situation in hand.
Russia’s fifth Iranian-American policy | However, by depriving Washington from the Russian pretext, Moscow obliged it to announce the adoption of unilateral sanctions that were in stand-by, especially those relating to the embargo on gasoline. Moscow protested because this measure was likely to induce riots that would be susceptible to overthrow the mullahs it needs. Afterwards, it proved to be question of an embargo on the sale of kerosene to the Pasdaran although this militia doesn’t purchase this good directly. It was just matter of an announcement that would satisfy the American public opinion which accuses Obama of inaction. Moscow had nothing to worry about. We didn’t hear it anymore.
At that time, it suddenly claimed that the Iranian nuclear programme was of military kind, a claim which is susceptible to prompt Washington to adopt a true embargo that would overthrow this regime. Such announcement surprised Western journalists : they thought that Moscow had just made its position tougher towards Iran and we thought it was not the case. It simply opposed Washington’s appeasement policy in order to prevent Obama from resuming his appeasement policy after that he adopted new measures that were devoid of true sanctions.
The day after this Russian announcement, our analysis was confirmed by the Russian announcement of gasoline sale to Iran in case of American embargo, which is really not a proof of tougher stance. Since then the media that used to mistaken avoided to make any comment about the matter. However Moscow kept going and took several initiatives of the same kind. It announced a new active and much surprising approach regarding its already much complex Iranian-American policy. Such change of course happened at a time when an unprecedented factor appeared : the Bazar’s general strike.
The Bazar is the political ally of the clergy and the Islamic revolution triumphed thanks to the Bazar that launched then a national strike in order to make millions of very poor people get unemployed and create an instable situation. Actually it was a general strike that would potentially induce a reverse revolution that worried the friends of the regime. Washington feared then the collapse of the mullahs it intends to use to conquer Central Asia. It tried to make a great appeasement gesture by returning Shahram Arimi in order to get back in exchange the three hikers who are detained in Iran, bury the hatchet and start the dialogue for an express reconciliation. Amiri himself acknowledged such exchange plan in one of his interviews the day after he came back to Iran.
Moscow got worried. The mullahs who risk to be lynched should have accepted the reconciliation. It challenged its limits when it told about the Iranian military nuclear issue in order to sabotage the dialogue that was already opened. It got over the absolute limit. It didn’t break the process related to Amiri. The day after, it mentioned its decision to counter a possible embargo on gasoline as it thought this may reassert its absolute support to the mullahs and not let them throw into panic. This is a bit stupid because the danger was coming from the Bazar and not from a current embargo. On the third day, it told it may resort to sanctions. On the fourth day, it mentioned the possibility to deliver the S-300 and at last it announced it would support the Iran-Turkey-Brazil agreement !
Russia’s sixth Iranian-American policy is a compilation of every extreme Russian choice ! Such policy is interesting but it was started at a time when the regime was endangered. Yesterday, the regime set fire to the florists’ Bazar which is not located within the Bazar but far from it : on the side of the Tehran equivalent of Rungis market. Obviously it was question of some warning it addressed to the Bazari who endanger its existence. This is not certain that Russia can continue to apply indefinitely the same policy. It will need to adopt a new unprecedented approach. This announces the start of time of uncertainty for Russia.
This necessity to review policy is available as well for the others which have oil interests in Iran or in Central Asia and apprehend the arrival on power of the American pawns, especially if they are fundamentalist. Thus we are entering in a phase of general uncertainty and it doesn’t stem originally from the United States for once but from Iran and its inhabitants.