The Iran Question

_33548_iran-russia_23-9-2005.jpgThe World Policy Institute speculates on Russia’s stance vis-à-vis America on Iran and nukes:

Despite its public claims to the contrary, Moscow knows that Iran’s missile capacity poses a threat and has at times publicly admitted as much…Why then does Moscow deny the threat? The reason is simple but discomfiting to those who think Moscow will cooperate with America to neutralize Iran. Russia sees Iran not as a threat, but rather as a potential ally against America in the Middle East and Persian Gulf. It also believes that support for Iran in the form of arms sales keeps Iran from sponsoring Islamic militants in the North Caucasus and Central Asia. Moscow regards U.S. invocations of the proliferation threat as over-hyped, self-serving attempts to oust Russia from the Iranian market. And since key lobbies like Rosatom, along with the Russian energy and defense industries, make billions from profitable deals with Iran, Moscow will not yield this prize cheaply.

And a related, savvy piece in The Asia Times breaks down why the so-called “conciliatory” line towards Iran expressed in Joseph Biden’s Munich speech isn’t, in fact, that different from Bush’s Iran policy:

“Using China as a role model, the proponents of this approach want the US to usesecret diplomacy guided by the White House to reach a comprehensive tackling ofall the main issues on the US-Iran plate, just as the US did with China underpresident Richard Nixon,” writes Kaveh L Afrasiabi. “Fair enough, but that would require vetoing theenormous clout of the Jewish lobby in Washington that wants US power used todefang the Islamic Republic.

“Also, it means narrowing the huge gaps in threat perceptions between Washingtonand Tehran – an important prerequisite for cooperation on regional stabilityissues. A case in point is the US intent on convincing Iran to stop its supportfor Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Hamas in Palestine”