Friday, September 25, 2009

A Deal with Moscow? Don't Bet on It

From FP:
U.S. officials were practically giddy when they heard Russian President Dmitri Medvedev on Wednesday indicate possible Russian support for new sanctions against Iran... Obama's chief Russia advisor, Michael McFaul, was "delighted," according to the New York Times. "I couldn't have said it any better myself," he said.

You could almost hear the champagne corks popping in the American delegation's suites.

But will Medvedev's words actually translate into Russian actions when it comes time to draft a tough resolution and vote?... Obama officials might want to recall that Russia has voted for U.N. resolutions against Iran in the past, but those texts were significantly watered down at Moscow's insistence.

Russia has also defied the spirit of those resolutions by continuing a business-as-usual approach to Tehran, including continued sales of arms and nuclear reactors. And Russian support for a sanctions resolution is far from a fait accompli. Just last week, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov voiced their opposition to new sanctions...
Ultimately, Russia is the one responsible for facilitating and setting up Iran's nuclear program. Does anyone think for one moment that Russia is merely interested in helping the Iranians set up a nuclear energy program? Does anyone think for one moment that Putin's plans to deliver the S-300 anti-aircraft weapons system to Iran is based on his good samaritanism and his desire to protect Iran's peaceful nuclear energy quest? Or that Russia has been arming Iran and Venezuela to the teeth for the hell of it?

This is all about offsetting American power. It's about Putin's cold war mentality and his desire to weaken American interests and strengthen Russia's position on the World stage.

Anyone who thinks Russia's been expanding all that energy just to establish civilian nuclear plants in Iran is naive.... at best.

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