More on Russia and the Iranian Bomb

Ariel Cohen, writing for the National Review:

Last weekend, Israel leaked to the Sunday Times of London that Russian scientists are developing nuclear warheads for Iran. According to the leakers, that’s why Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Moscow for a “secret” visit September 7.

If true, this information may accelerate sanctions against Iran, or even precipitate military action to destroy the Iranian nuclear-weapons program. It may also blow President Obama’s Russia “reset” policy to smithereens.

The news evokes a specter of things past. In the early 1960s, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser imported former Nazi scientists to develop a medium-range ballistic missile to use against Israel. The Israeli intelligence service, the Mossad, launched an assassination program targeting the scientists. It stopped Egypt’s missile program in its tracks.

But there’s a big difference between Egypt then and Iran today: Iran presents a much harder target.

And then there’s the big question: What role Russia is playing in the Iranian nuclear program?

If the Sunday Times story is true — if Russian scientists and engineers are indeed helping to create the mullahs’ doomsday weapons — that means the West was wrong to assume that a nuclear-armed Iran runs counter to Russia’s national interest. It means our intelligence-collection efforts in Iran and Russia have been a massive failure. It means that Russia cannot be a bona fide partner in stopping the Iranian nuclear effort. Indeed, it means that Moscow is following geopolitical agenda aimed at thoroughly destroying U.S. influence in the Middle East.

During a recent trip to Russia, senior advisors to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev told me that “Russia will be the last country against which Iran may point its nukes.” They also predicted that Iran will be the “next regional superpower” in the Middle East. Therefore, if Tehran points its warheads at Israel, American bases in the Middle East, and Sunni Arab states allied with the U.S., Moscow will have nothing against it.

U.S. and European analyses have assumed it would take Iran until to 2015 to develop nukes. But if the Russians are busy designing warheads for the mullahs, that timetable goes up in smoke. Iran might be able to deliver nukes as early as next year.

In his persuasive analysis of the Sunday Times leak, Stratfor founder George Friedman raises some important questions. Why would Netanyahu demonstrate to Russia that Israel had penetrated the inner sanctum of the Iranian nuclear program (its warhead design operation)? Why would Israeli present a list of scientists to Russia now, compromising “sources and methods” and thus rendering the Mossad intelligence operation in Iran obsolete? Does this mean Israel has decided to launch a military strike, and was just giving the Russians ample warning?

Perhaps this is “last call” for Russia to endorse U.N. sanctions, pull out its scientists, and get on the Western bandwagon. The alternative may be a deep and prolonged breach of relations with the West. That’s a price that Russia, still seriously weakened by the global economic crisis, may not be willing to pay.

More likely, however, Russia will continue to deny involvement in the alleged warhead development, as its National Security Council secretary, Gen. Nikolay Patrushev, a Putin confidante, already has. While President Medvedev tentatively accepted the possibility of sanctions against Iran in his speech before the U.N. General Assembly, both Prime Minister Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov have denied the necessity of crippling sanctions.

If that’s the way the Kremlin wants to play it, get ready for a confrontation.

9 responses to “More on Russia and the Iranian Bomb

  1. And it seems that there have been multiple lines of assistance not only on nuclear technology, but also on the conventional high explosives required to detonate a warhead.

    http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20091005_6172.php

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/10/world/10nuke.html

    And it is VERY hard to believe that any nuclear weapons scientist could work for a foreign government without his own governements approval.

  2. Considering there are a high number of Russian Immigrant Jews in Israel, wouldn’t Russia want to protect Israel from an Iranian Nuke? Apparently not. I know there is a viral anti-semitic streak in Russia, but this is beyond the pale. Can’t someone stand up in Russia and do the right thing? The Iranian leadership is nuts. If Putin thinks he can control the Mullahs, then he’s got another thing coming. I think Iran wants to see a pan Islamic Federation in Central Asia from the Mediterranean to the steppes of Mongolia. Nuclear missiles would be a great first step in such a strategy.

    • It’s precisely because there are many Jews of Russian descent in Israel that Russia would NOT want to protect Israel. At least, one of the reasons

      • Indeed, one of the reasons. USSR was very positive toward Israel at first, during Independence war. Why? Soviets thought, Israel would be another socialist country. When Israelis choose to side with West, Soviets started to support Muslims, their enemies and became strongly anti-Israeli which continues to these days..

  3. More like a “Free for all” fight. Just pouring gasoline over the fire. Let NATO put Moscow back into Afghanistan. Lets keep Ukraine and Georgia out of the EU, and NATO. Just ask them to send troops to fight on the side of Roosha. You got to be Kidding! No, its true.

    MOSCOW WANTS TO BE INVITED TO NATO-AFGHANISTAN TALKS

    Russia is waiting for an invitation from NATO to take part in talks on Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

    “NATO holds regular meetings between members of the alliance, Afghanistan and Central Asian states. We have repeatedly asked why Russia could not be involved in these discussions.” Lavrov said after talks in Moscow with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    “We are waiting for an answer to our proposal,” he added.

    An unnamed official from NATO’s headquarters in Brussels told RIA Novosti on Tuesday the alliance was interested in holding talks with Russia on Afghanistan in an “appropriate” format that would suit both Russia and NATO.

    NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged Russia last Wednesday to provide assistance in training and equipping the Afghan Army.

    “Russia could provide equipment for the Afghan security forces. Russia could provide training. We could explore in a joint effort how we could further Russian engagement,” Rasmussen said. RIA Novosti

    Now what would be the price for that help Roosha would give? Maybe Hillary could offer Moscali Ukraine and Georgia? Hell, there is no way the US will win that war, especially with Rooshan help.

    Now the Kavkaz opinion. http://www.kavkazcenter.com/eng/

    I don’t think this will win “hearts and minds”.

  4. This was on Drudgereport. The article explains why the Russians are not afraid of Iranian Nukes on their border. It is realpolitik. Russia realizes that Iran holds the key to being powerbroker in the area. Obama is foolish to think he can get Iran to give up nukes through talks when the Russians are supporting the other side. It is sad that Obama doesn’t see that and persistents like a mule to sit down with the Mullahs. His best chance to resolve this situation was in June during the Green Revolution, but he let it pass.
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1255204781388&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

  5. Iranians have no love for Roosha and would rather deal with the West if possible. Forcing Iran into Rooshan Arms is not a good idea. Too many nukes around and they will get a shipment from their Big Neighbor Piz Mat Roosha.

    Clean up the mess in the middle East, and there will be no problems with Iran. Afghanistan is not an American Problem. Let the Moscali worry about it. They are the ones buying the Heroin.

    The real reason that the US is in there is to get a pipeline built for Dick Chenny’s Unocal Oil. The Idea is to get Caspian Oil to flow across Afghanistan and Pakistan into the Indian Ocean and China. Thus keeping the price low and saving the dollar.

    http://leejohnbarnes.blogspot.com/2009/08/afghanistan-war-for-gas-and-oil.html

  6. Obama wants to get rid of all nukes. Putin wants to use nukes in pre emptive strikes. Obama gets rid of missile shield because why do you need one if no one has nukes. Am I missing something here? I don’t think America and Russia are on the same page.

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