Iranian Russophobia

Nezavisimaya Gazeta has an editorial advising the Russian government to diversify its ties with the Iranian opposition, so relations don’t go down with the ship if Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s political troubles continue.  From the Los Angeles Times:

“The popularity of Ahmadinejad is low,” Aleksey Arbatov, director of the Center for International Security of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told the newspaper. “His policies have brought the country into a deadlock. He will not change his line, especially since there are powerful forces behind him — the Islamic Revolutionary Guards.” 

Arbatov suggests that Ahmadinejad might be pushed aside by more moderate forces, while retaining the presidency as a sort of “bad cop.”

The editorial urges Moscow to “correct” its own policies to take into account Iran’s new reality. 

Thatdoesn’t mean breaking off ties with Iran, which remains an “importantpartner,” the editorial said. Iranian-Russian trade has jumpeddramatically since 2000. 

“It is known that a number of largeRussian enterprises, that are fulfilling contracts with Iran, aredirectly interested in the development of ties with the IslamicRepublic of Iran,” the editorial said. 

But, the editorial added, “banking on personal relations with Ahmadinejad appears to be counterproductive.”