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"A Military Strike at Iran Would Be a Colossal Mistake": Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary

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Purveyor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-17-10 12:33 PM
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"A Military Strike at Iran Would Be a Colossal Mistake": Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary
"A Military Strike at Iran Would Be a Colossal Mistake": An Interview with Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary Vladimir Nazarov

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said last week that Iran's latest statements and actions were compelling the United States ". . . and other countries" to resort to stiff sanctions. Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary Vladimir Nazarov said in his turn that Moscow might support sanctions but that they must be "adequate to the threat presented by the Iranian nuclear program" and must "not punish the Iranian people." Nazarov added that Russia is trying to persuade its Western partners to find a diplomatic solution to the problem instead of "driving Iran into a corner." This interview was conducted by Interfax correspondent Pavel Koryashkin for Kommersant.

Q: Previously, Russia supported Iran and opposed sanctions. These days, however, the impression is that Russia supports the West in its stand on the matter. What happened?

Vladimir Nazarov: We are concerned about conflicting signals from Iran, including the ones sent in response to the proposals of the Six-Party Group and the IAEA. We certainly believe that Iran should be more cooperative with the IAEA.

Iran is Russia's major strategic partner. Russia wants cooperation with Iran in a whole number of spheres. Iran is playing an important part in regional and global security. On the other hand, Russia regards the prospect of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons as unacceptable. That would have consequences in the region and the world in general. There will be a domino effect: many other countries in the region will make every effort to acquire nuclear weapons as well. That may trigger new crises and conflicts.

Q: Iran said it was enriching uranium on its own up to 20 percent. What is our estimate of the date by which Iran might develop nuclear weapons?

VN: We have some ideas on that score, and we regularly check them against the estimates made by our foreign partners who are also closely monitoring the situation. I cannot give you an exact date. All I can say is that the progress Iran has made in its nuclear program indicates that the hypothetical dates when it becomes possible for Iran to develop nuclear weapons, as estimated by experts in different countries, are beginning to get closer.

Q: If it comes down to sanctions, will Russia vote for stiff or mild sanctions?

VN: Russia believes sanctions to be counterproductive. President Dmitry Medvedev, however, said that ". . . sanctions become unavoidable in certain situations." Sanctions must be consistent with the degree of threat. Any deviation can have negative consequences. If it is sanctions after all, it will be wrong to drive Iran into a corner with them. There are IAEA experts in Iran monitoring its nuclear facilities. Iran's greater cooperation with the IAEA and adherence to the additional protocol to the IAEA safeguards agreement would resolve all issues, restore the transparency of the nuclear program, and revive the international community's trust in it.

Q: Does it mean that Russia stands for mild sanctions?

VN: Let's do without labels, shall we? Sanctions should be adequate to the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear program but should not punish the Iranian people. By the way, sanctions, as a rule, have very little effect on the target's policy, its military capabilities, or its defense capacity.

Q: How does the Russian Security Council evaluate chances of an American and Israeli strike at Iran?

VN: A military strike at Iran would be a colossal mistake. Problems associated with the Iranian nuclear program should be solved only by diplomatic means. Any military action against Iran will explode the situation. It will have thoroughly negative consequences for the whole world and for Russia, one of Iran's neighbors.

The Russian Security Council and its secretary never miss a chance to remind their foreign partners that a military option is extremely dangerous and should be avoided.

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-17-10 07:02 PM
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1. Which Is Why Politicians Have Been Beating the War Drums for Years Now
Besides, Grenada hasn't asked for a rematch.
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Tutankhamun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-17-10 07:43 PM
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2. sending bombs or missiles into Iran would be a big mistake.
Even Bush knew that. Supposedly, Cheney wanted to attack, but * wouldn't do it.
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-17-10 08:36 PM
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3. will Washington listen?
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