Saturday, August 20, 2011

Russia shifts her stance on Iran … yet again!

Following the meeting between Iran’s foreign minister, Salehi and the Russian security council secretary, Patrushev on August 16th, the Russians disclosed their plan to re-introduce the talks on Iran’s nuclear energy program with the P5+1 in their upcoming meeting. The plan of step by step resolution to the conundrum was proposed by the Russian foreign secretary, Lavrov, last year and is to be looked at once again.

Knowing the behavior of the regime in Tehran, and their utter desperation to find some relief on any of the fronts (external and internal) at this point of time, one can only guess the amount and nature of concessions they have offered the Russians to pursue this futile matter once more. Could it be that on their necks they feel the breath of a revolution in Syria, their sole ally in the region, that forces them to look for any alleviation of pressure? Could it be their dire domestic squabbles among their conservative factions that have been slowly spinning out of control? Could it be the ever increasing pressures exerted from international sanctions that have played havoc with the economy, banking, finance and even foreign relations (reports of pending and blocked payments by India, South Korea and even China and Iran’s inability to effect these transactions due to the banking sanctions imposed)? The question of wholesale concessions to Russia only arises from the fact that until a few months ago, the relations between Tehran and Kremlin was at a recent low and quite cold with Russia’s refusal to deliver the S-300 missile defense system to Tehran and a few supportive nods to the United States’ moves to tighten the pressure on Tehran. The very same Russia who has yet to complete Bushehr’s nuclear plant and solve the problems it has been facing, having taken extraordinary number of years to finish the project despite Tehran’s urging.

Whatever the reason for these concessions, the regime, irrational and desperate, is clearly groping for any refuge or island of relative positivity in a stormy sea. Does that mean they will accede and accept the conditions put forth in the upcoming talks and show leniency in their stance on the nuclear issue? It would be futile to hold one’s breathe as they have shown their belligerence in dealing with this issue if their previous brinksmanship is anything to go by.

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