Iran and Russia – Kiss and Make Up Over Sanctions

Posted on July 27, 2010

For two days last week, Iran’s mercurial President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, railed against Russian President Dimitry Medvedev for what he perceived as the Russian leader’s having joined the US in a propaganda effort against Iran and its nuclear program.

TEHRAN, IRAN — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Russia’s president on Friday of turning against Tehran and joining the U.S. in spreading lies about its nuclear program, in the latest sign that Iran is drifting apart from a one-time key backer.

Ahmadinejad said Dmitry Medvedev entered a “propaganda drama” directed by Washington by saying last week that Iran was getting closer to being able to develop nuclear weapons.

The Iranian president has had harsh words for Moscow since it became apparent that Russia would support last month’s new United Nations sanctions against Tehran for its refusal to stop parts of its nuclear program. In the past, Iran had depended on allies Russia and China — and their veto power at the Security Council — to block tough penalties.

There was a sea change over the weekend and Monday, Russia made a strong complaint to the EU about its additional Iranian sanctions fashioned and agreed to outside the UN.  One wonders if Putin doesn’t step in from time to time to neaten things up.

The EU’s new sanctions, adopted Monday, put sharp limits on new oil and gas investment and curb financial links with Iran. Canada also slapped Iran with similar sanctions Monday, according to RTT News, and on June 24 the US Congress passed curbs on dealing with Iran’s banking and energy sectors.

Russia, as a veto-wielding member of the United Nations Security Council, has signed on to four rounds of sanctions against Iran already, but doesn’t wish to take a harder line. Moscow said the EU’s tough new sanctions were counter-productive and worked at cross-purposes with a six-nation effort – which includes Russia – to resolve the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program, according to the Associated Press. [CSM]

But the Monitor also reported that Russia had some strong words for Iran:

We would like to specially underline that for us the recent public statements of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are categorically unacceptable: they distort Russia’s objective approach, our independent, constructive stance on Iran’s nuclear program, aimed to find a political and diplomatic solution, amid the justified concerns of the international community.

We believe that instead of sterile and irresponsible rhetoric Iran’s leadership ought to take concrete constructive steps towards the speediest settlement of the current situation, for which Russia and the entire Group of Six have been long and persistently calling.

Not to place himself too out of reach of the international community, Ahmadinejad did confirm that he still plans to continue to meet talks with the West about its nuclear program and without pre-conditions in September.  It has added that it wants Brazil and Turkey to attend. [CSM]  It so makes one think back to last year’s meeting in Washington between Obama and Medvedev.  Putin was in Brazil at the time….

But of course, according to Ahmadinijad, the US and Israel are planning to launch an attack on Iran in 3 months so one would assume that the above arrangements would be mute.[DebkaFile]  It appears that all Ahmadinijad lacks is a Greek chorus to lend even more drama to his messages.  He has a good gig going and he is going to perfect it so that he can enjoy more control and more exposure.