News / Europe

Israel Fails to Move Russia on Iran Nuclear Talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu take part in a joint news conference in Moscow, Nov. 20, 2013.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu take part in a joint news conference in Moscow, Nov. 20, 2013.
James Brooke
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left Moscow on Thursday after failing in a last minute attempt to move Russian President Vladimir Putin away from backing a Iranian nuclear deal taking shape in Geneva.
 
After four hours of talks in Moscow, Russia’s leader told reporters, “We, in Russia, have an optimistic view on the Iranian nuclear problem."
 
The Israeli leader faced an uphill battle in Moscow.
 
Russia is a northern neighbor of Iran and is known for sitting on the fence about Iran’s nuclear program.
 
On Monday, Putin talked by telephone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.  Afterwards, a Kremlin statement said: “Putin stressed that there is now a real chance to find a solution to this long-standing problem.”
 
Israel supports tighter economic sanctions and total dismantlement of Iran’s nuclear program.  In Moscow, Netanyahu tried flattery, publicly praising Putin for brokering a chemical weapons disarmament deal for Syria. He argued that Russia should now try to negotiate a similar nuclear disarmament deal for Iran.
 
“In the case of Syria, Russia and other powers quite justifiably insisted on full the disarmament of Syria,"  he said at the news conference. At the Geneva talks, the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany appear to be shaping a deal that would allow Iran to keep low level uranium enrichment capacity, under international controls.
 
While the Kremlin says it does not want Iran to get a nuclear bomb, Russia does not share Israel’s insecurity over the issue. Russia has 8,500 nuclear warheads.  Some Russians say they do not feel threatened if Iran has one or two nuclear bombs.
 
George Mirsky, a Mideast expert at Russia’s Academy of Sciences, recalls hearing a Russian diplomat talk a few months ago at a Foreign Ministry conference here in Moscow.
 
“One of the officials said, quite outright, that it is better to have a nuclear Iran, than a pro-American Iran,” Mirsky recalled. “Can you imagine this?  Better a nuclear Iran for Russia, than a pro-American Iran.  Because, after all, Russia can never be afraid of Iranian nuclear weapons.”
 
But Russia does fear the nonconventional weapons that Iran could use.
 
Iran shares a Caspian Sea coastline with Dagestan, an overwhelmingly Muslim Russian republic, where anti-government bombings and shootings occur daily. Dagestan is the gateway to Russia’s Caucasus, a mountainous region where Russia has waged two all out wars against secessionists in the two decades since the Soviet Union collapsed.
 
Mirsky said, “Iran has some means to make life very miserable for Russia in the Caucasus, but Iran was very loyal and never did a single thing to damage Russian interests in the Caucasus.  And it is appreciated in Moscow”
 
Tehran also appreciates that Moscow, decades ago, stopped supporting secessionist Azeri and Kurdish groups in Northern Iran.
 
In the Shiite-Sunni split in the Muslim world, Iran and Moscow share a common opposition to armed Sunni groups, whether in the Russian Caucasus or in Shiite-controlled Syria, an Iranian ally.
 
For Russia, there have also been economic benefits to the status quo of economic sanctions on Iran.  Sanctions keep Iranian oil and gas off world markets, boosting prices of Russia’s primary exports. Sanctions prevent the landlocked, energy rich nations of the Caspian from using Iranian pipelines to export their oil and gas to the outside world.
 
So the Israeli leader faced a big challenge when he flew to Moscow on Wednesday, but, undoubtedly, he also had few illusions.
 
On the surface, Russia and Israel have good relations: visa free tourism and one million Russian speakers in Israel. But Israelis have a deep skepticism of Russia.
 
Last April, the Pew Research Center asked people around the world about their attitudes towards Russia.  Of people surveyed in 38 countries, the highest level of unfavorable opinion - 77 percent - was recorded in Israel.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Aldebaran from: Rancho Mirage
November 22, 2013 8:56 AM
Without Russia's backing, Iran and Syria, wouldn't be much of a problem. In a nutshell, Putin, is the most evil leader on the planet.
Putin's mentality is to serve as a counter balance to anything good the US try's to do around the world. You can count on Putin to always do the opposite of US and world interests. I hope he suffers a fatal embolism ASAP!


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
November 22, 2013 8:24 AM
If Russia refuses to see reason to persuade Iran to drop the idea of uranium enrichment and wishes Iran goes forward, then it will share the blame for the consequences of Iran's recalcitrant pursuit of war. For as long as Iran retains capability to enrich uranium, there is very little anyone can do to convince other concerned parties in the region and elsewhere that they can sleep with their two eyes closed. If Iran goes ahead with uranium enrichment capability – to whatever level, whatever guise is used to confuse the rest of watchers - it is a murder of sleep and no one will be able to sleep anymore from thence.

Whatever gain Russia may wish to have made from it will turn to turmoil and discredit everyone who has been party to it, including the administration in Washington DC that will be called to give account of the stewardship toward restraining Iranian impudence. When Obama made a show of himself and USA as toothless bulldog, the rest of the world can now dictate for it how they conduct their diplomacy. Which is why Iran is on the driving seat dictating both direction and pace. And why not Russia which is itself a superpower element.

I miss Ronald Regan, Bill Clinton, George Bush! If they do not go to war, they know the right actions to take to achieve a diplomatic solution without lowering America’s image. Now the reverse is the case. Today I watched a Hollywood classical film (courtesy MultiChoice DSTV) titled Battle Ship; It was a game. I remember Ronald Regan’s Star Wars. It was also made in Hollywood. But the Israel-Iran war may not have been thought of in Hollywood, though everyone thinks that Washington DC’s inaction and NAIVE compromises in the ‘substantial nuisance’ of the Day2 negotiations at Geneva may be the point of no return in the drift toward an avoidable war. Israel’s national motto is NEVER AGAIN, and that includes allowing Iran produce and possess atomic weapon of mass destruction targeted at Israel. If you think Israel wishes to live with this mortal threat, I do not belong in your camp.


by: Papa Jo from: Killarney
November 21, 2013 10:50 PM
If Iran is the mortal enemy of both Arab states and Israel then why these knuckleheads politicians of Israelis and Arabs cooperate on their common interest and eliminate their common enemy, instead of relying heavily on other countries to do the job for them!


by: Martin Nesbitt from: USA
November 21, 2013 2:36 PM
Russians in Israel know exactly what absolute crap the "new" Russia is. And there is an implacable and undeniable genetic link between Israel and the US - the two are simply inseparable.

The truth is that Russia is disintegrating faster than the brutal hold of the Iranian Mullahs through the fear of their citizenry... Russia doesn't care if Iran has a nuclear bomb or two, but they would care if Saudi Arabia has them...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid