Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Appeasing Iran, Russian Style

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Written by Yisrael Ne'eman
Tuesday, 17 January 2006
Israel’s National Security Council Chief Giora Eiland and Director General of the Atomic Energy Commission Gideon Frank are on their way to Moscow to halt a deal over nuclear cooperation between Russia and Iran. Their chances of having an impact on President Vladimir Putin or anyone else are close to non-existent. Over the past few months Iranian President Ahmadinejad has led the charge of anti-Israel, anti-Semitic statements demanding the destruction of the Jewish State, denying the Holocaust and accusing Jews of being oppressors. Simultaneously the Iranians are developing their nuclear program in defiance of the US and the European Union. The oil rich Iranians continue to claim that it is all for peaceful purposes. Not even the United Nations believes them.

The US, Britain and France (since Iranian missiles can only reach central Europe at the moment, the French must figure it is only a matter of time before Paris can be hit) want the issue brought to the UN Security Council where the possibility of sanctions can be discussed. The Chinese who have a permanent seat on the council, are not interested in sanctions, have economic interests in Iran and are apparently not afraid of an attack. The Russians want more diplomacy and options and thereby are suggesting they process nuclear fuel for Iran, giving the impression of “control” over any attempts by the militant ayatollahs to build a nuclear device.

Israel is going through the diplomatic motions of attempting to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons to Iran. Big money interests are involved and even if the West demands an “embargo,” Russia, China or both can veto the proposal at the UN. If there is a decision for an embargo, one can trust Moscov, Beijing and quite a few Western business interests to circumvent it.

The Russians are following their own immediate interests to the detriment of their medium and long term security. It is reminiscent of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact of cooperation between Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany in August 1939, a week before WWII broke out. In 1942 Stalin would explain to British PM Churchill that he had not expected the West to stand up to Hitler, leaving cooperation as the only avenue since the Soviets could not face the Nazis on their own.

Despite their own fears of Islamic terror, especially from Chechnya, the Russians feel they have to cooperate with Tehran. They have economic interests at stake but this should not be the overriding factor when considering the atomic threat. Moscow is sending mixed signals, one as a go - between to end the crisis with Iran while at the same time stepping into that role due to fear of Western cowardice. Stalin’s policy of appeasement through cooperation to buy time is repeating itself. In the world of nuclear confrontation a four year slugging match accompanied by Russian winters is not an option.

The Iranians will charge ahead with their nuclear development. Western threats or sanctions will be dismissed for the useless policy they are. If the West wants to stand up to the extremist Islamic regime in Iran it can only be done by taking such a staunch position as to intimidate the Russians into making no compromises. To prove so, they must convince Moscow (and Tehran)that a military option is always available to halt the nuclear program by Khomeini's sons.


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