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By Sean — 11 years ago
Last week, the New York Times wrote:
Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, proposed a new way to help resolve the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program during an extraordinary meeting with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the country’s chief nuclear negotiator on Wednesday.
The negotiator, Ali Larijani, told reporters that Mr. Putin, who was granted an audience with Ayatollah Khamenei on Tuesday evening, “offered a special proposal.” Neither the Iranians nor the Russians would disclose any details, but Mr. Larijani said the Iranian side was studying it.
“One of the issues he brought up was his view on the nuclear issue,” Mr. Larijani said, according to the ISNA news agency. “We are reviewing it now.”
Like the above says, neither said gave details as to what Putin proposed. And Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied that Putin made any such proposal despite its announcement by Larijani and its reporting on IRNA, Iran’s official state news agency. But today, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani up and resigned. Larijani’s resignation, says the LA Times, “will likely be viewed in Western capitals as a major setback for Iranian moderates attempting to forge a compromise over Iran’s nuclear program.” This couldn’t have been what Mr. Putin had in mind. But if there was something on Putin’s mind, I assume we’ll find out soon.
Update: On the Informed Comment Global Affairs blog, Farideh Farhi discusses the background and significance of Ali Larijani’s resignation and the appointment of the less experienced but closer to Ahmadinejad, Saeed Jalili, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for European affairs. Larijani’s resignation seems to have a connection to Putin. She writes, “The straw that broke the camel’s back was probably Larijani’s assertion that Putin had a special message about Iran’s nuclear file and Ahmadinejad’s public rejection of that assertion.”
By Sean — 2 years ago
By Sean — 11 years ago
I don’t have time to write extensively on Putin’s historic trip to Iran. Plus there are many others who are more versed in Russian-Iranian relations and the geopolitical significance of Putin’s trip. So with that in mind and a dissertation chapter deadline hanging over my head, I offer Juan Cole’s take on it. His post is significant because it provides the entire text of Putin’s and Admadinejad’s joint statement. I also recommend Farideh Farhi’s post on the Informed Comment Global Affairs Blog for what the Russian visit means for Tehran.
It’s clear that if there were any diplomatic victories achieved in the meeting, they were all Iran’s. With Putin backing the Islamic nation’s assertions that its nuclear program is “peaceful” basically confirmed that if Washington is looking for partners to put the hard squeeze on Iran, Russia isn’t one of them.
For Russia, the trip is a reaffirmation that Russia will seek its own independent foreign policy. And ironically Putin came out somewhat like a peacemaker with his stress in dialog with Iran rather than sanctions. He stressed this last night during his annual question and answer session with the public. “Direct dialog with the leaders of states around which certain problems accumulate is always more productive and is the shortest path to success, rather than a policy of threats, sanctions, and all the more so resolution by using force,” he said.
That wasn’t the only blow to US prospects waging war against Iran. The attendees at the Caspian Sea Summit, which included Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Turkmenistan’s President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, made a declaration that said “under any circumstances they would not allow other countries to use their territory for aggression and military attack against one of the parties.”
Welcome to the Great Game of the 21st Century.