Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Russian Anxieties about the Iranian Nuclear Accord

Russian critics of the Iran nuclear deal believe the agreement will strengthen the United States as a global power at the expense of Russia.

Print Friendly

LobeLog

A great debate is currently taking place in the U.S. about whether the nuclear accord between Iran and the P5 + 1 (America, Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia) is a “good deal” or a “bad deal” for America and thus whether or not Congress should reject it. Although not nearly as vociferous, a similar debate is taking place in Moscow over what the implications of the Iranian nuclear accord are for Russia.

Most of Russian news coverage, of course, is relatively positive about the deal. The end of international sanctions on Iran that the agreement envisages is seen as good for Russian enterprises seeking to export arms, nuclear reactors, and other Russian products to Iran. Russian support for the Iranian nuclear accord is also seen as proof of continued Russian importance to the West despite increasingly tense relations. Further, Russian commentators see the settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue as strengthening Moscow’s argument that the West should see the Russian- and Iranian-backed Assad regime as a partner in the common struggle against the Islamic State (ISIS or IS).

Although this is certainly the main thrust of Russian commentary about the Iranian nuclear accord, some in Russia also saw its very status as a great power at stake in the negotiations. A Washington Post story on August 14 reported about how Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov spoke at a meeting where there was “hawkish criticism that Moscow should have scuttled the deal” due to concerns that the agreement allowed Iranian oil to return to the world market, thus lowering the price of oil and Russian oil export revenue.

In response, Ryabkov stated, “Would there have been a deal if Russia had not participated in these talks? I think there would have been a deal, but the conditions would have been far worse for the Russian Federation.” Moscow, in other words, understood that Tehran wanted to reach an agreement with Washington, and that if Moscow had tried to block it, Iran and the other negotiating parties may have simply ignored Russia and signed an agreement anyway—which would have made Russia look weak and unimportant.

A few weeks previously, Kremlin critic Mikhail Zygar wrote on the Slon.ru website that the Iranian nuclear accord “may be the last time that Russia will be involved as a great power.” He noted further that “We [Russians] owe Iran a debt of gratitude for dragging out the negotiations and acting stubborn, since it extended our membership in the elite global club.” When it comes to dealing with the challenge of IS in future, he suggested that it is Iran, and not Russia, that “is going to become an indispensable partner for the West.”

Leonid Kalashnikov—the deputy chairman of the State Duma International Affairs Committee—took a much darker view of the implications of the Iranian nuclear accord for Russia. The purpose of the agreement for the U.S., he argued, is “isolating and pressurizing Russia.” He explained how for Washington, “The deal with Iran…will be an example of how to convince the European partners [of the need] to exert pressure on Russia under the principle ‘look at what we did with Iran, why can’t we do the same thing with Russia.’”

While Americans who object to the Iranian nuclear accord believe that it’s a bad deal for the U.S., Russians who object to it believe instead that it’s bad for Russia because it’s actually good for America. Although these Russian pessimists may be frustrated that Moscow was unable to prevent the signing of an agreement they see as harmful to Russian interests, they can at least take heart from the possibility that Congress might override President Obama’s veto of its near certain initial rejection of the agreement in September. Russian media will condemn Congress if it does so, but there are many in Moscow who will secretly thank Congress for giving Moscow an opening to increase its influence in Tehran at Washington’s expense, and for keeping alive Russian hopes for remaining a great power in the eyes of the world.

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Former Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO), a stalwart advocate of Pentagon spending now based at the right-wing Heritage Foundation, says he would have voted for the Iraq War even if he had known the Bush administration’s claims about WMDs were false.


Mike Pompeo (R-KS) is a conservative Republican congressman who was voted into office as part of the “tea party” surge in 2011 and nominated by Donald Trump to be director of the CIA.


Although better known for his domestic platform promoting “limited” government, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has expressed strong sympathies for projecting U.S. military power abroad.


James “Mad Dog” Mattis is a retired U.S Marine Corps general and combat veteran who served as commander of U.S. Central Command during 2010-2013 before being removed by the Obama administration reportedly because of differences over Iran policy.


Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) was one of Congress’s staunchest foreign policy hawks and a “pro-Israel” hardliner.


A self-styled terrorism “expert” who claims that the killing of Osama bin Laden strengthened Al Qaeda, former right-wing Lebanese militia member Walid Phares wildly claims that the Obama administration gave the Muslim Brotherhood “the green light” to sideline secular Egyptians.


Weekly Standard editor and PNAC cofounder Bill Kristol is a longtime neoconservative activist and Washington political operative.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly

Spurred by anti-internationalist sentiment among conservative Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration, the US is headed for a new confrontation with the UN over who decides how much the US should pay for peacekeeping.


Print Friendly

Decent developments in the Trump administration indicate that the neoconservatives, at one point on the margins of Washington’s new power alignments, are now on the ascendent?


Print Friendly

As the end of Donald Trump’s first 100 days as president approaches, it seems that his version of an “America-first” foreign policy is in effect a military-first policy aimed at achieving global hegemony, which means it’s a potential doomsday machine.


Print Friendly

Hopeful that Donald Trump may actually be their kind of guy, neoconservatives are full of praise for the cruise-missile strike against Syria and are pressing for more.


Print Friendly

Steve Bannon’s removal from the NSC’s Principals Committee doesn’t mean that he’s gone from the White House or no longer exerts a powerful influence on Trump. His office is still located very close to the Oval Office, and there’s nothing to indicate that his dark and messianic worldview has changed.


Print Friendly

Promoting sanctions that could undermine the Iran nuclear deal, pushing security assistance for Israel, combatting BDS, and more.


Print Friendly

Contrary to some wishful thinking following the Trump administration’s decision to “put Iran on notice” and seemingly restore U.S.-Saudi ties, there are little signs of apprehension in Tehran.


RightWeb
share